Ask Bill Gates Anything: Being a Billionaire is Strange, Microsoft Co-Founder Tells Students

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if you’re curious and you want to learn something. When I was young and I wanted to ask a question about, ‘Hey, what’s fertilizer?’ if the World Book didn’t have it, I wasn’t going to get the answer.”

Gates talked at length about the ways technology is affecting the education system, particularly how the Khan Academy‘s online video lessons are being tested to see how that model might help flip the traditional classroom model, with lectures at home and “homework” in the classroom.

Asked whether he thought computer science should start being introduced very early in kids’ educations, Gates said he actually would start with statistics.

“There’s certainly a level of complex, symbolic thinking that is valuable to be exposed to. Personally, I might put statistics in instead of geometry. I’d put statistics in before calculus,” Gates said. “Where computer science belongs in that hierarchy I don’t know.”

“I do find that people who have computer science backgrounds, when given a problem from another domain, the idea that they take the system and they look at the size of various elements, they look at the rate-limiting steps for various elements, and they can say, ‘OK, we need to optimize here,’ that type of thinking is like—uh, yeah,” Gates said. “And what other domain gives you that type of systems thinking? Maybe some parts of science and engineering, but the basic notion of what’s an algorithm, and that many systems in society are basically poorly designed algorithms, I think that’s very worthwhile.”

When asked to predict where personal technology would be headed now that we’re in the age of the pervasive smartphone, Gates talked about displays that show up on the human eye and sensors that allow hands to manipulate virtual screens—something that sounds like an outgrowth of the OmniTouch project from Microsoft Research.

“In a sense, the only difference between a phone and a PC is sort of the screen size. You have the size of the screen, and the input technique,” Gates said. “The next generation is either a screen that you can fold out to any size that you want, kind of going back to the papyrus scroll, or more likely it’s simply projecting onto your retina.”

“If I have a projection ability, and I have a camera that’s watching my gestures, I can just say, ‘OK, I want a newspaper this size,’ and I can get perfect HD resolution right in front of me. And the cost and weight of having that capability is almost zero,” he said.

“So eventually, we’ll laugh that there were these big, flat, glass screens that were expensive, and if you dropped them you broke [them],” Gates said. “All you’re trying to do is put stuff on your eye. That’s all. So what a weird contraption, all these LCD chemicals and chips and things. You’re just trying to project into my eye, why don’t you just go ahead and paint there?”

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19 responses to “Ask Bill Gates Anything: Being a Billionaire is Strange, Microsoft Co-Founder Tells Students”

  1. I like the way he think that wealth above a certain level is responsibility to do something for others. Although he doesn’t have to do that, this way of thinking make our world a better place to live.

  2. Eric Belko says:

    Ask you anything?
    How about how we are going to survive after the corrupt politicians and globalists remove all our wealth, take away our homes, and destroy any prospect of getting a decent job? I’m a firm believer you must be able to take care of yourself, before you can take care of anyone else. Our nation is crumbling. You and the rest of the Global Elite are picking our bones so we can’t even pay our bills and buy food, and giving it away to the world’s homeless. The main reason Socialism always fails is because, soon, there is nobody left with anything to pay the bills.

  3. Nate Ramos says:

    @Eric Belko

    What world are you living in? First off, you have no idea what Bill Gates does for the world, local communities and U.S. economy. He is willing to pay more taxes so we can have roads, dams, electricity, etc.

    You want to talk about taking care of yourself? Do you produce your own electricity? Own entertainment? Own food? Are you a farmer? Do you heard sheep? Probably not, you’re more likely to heard the sheep to slaughter than salvation.

    Society is about doing for each other using our individual talents and skills to do for others a whole what we can not do for ourselves. You want to take care of yourself? Cool, don’t pay taxes. But by the way, teach your kids at home, don’t use the roads, farm your own food, disconnect from the power grid and sewer system, mill your own clothes and then tell me how successful you are, how you’re rich and how taxes are unnecessary.

    Until you disconnect yourself from reality and society…keep paying taxes so you can use social services and STFU!!! You need society, you need government and you need resources and so do businesses. What’s wrong with government isn’t size, it’s efficiency. Get that through your thick head, focus on efficiency as Gates talks about and maybe you might be worth listening to.

  4. Abey Fagbenro says:

    Just send me one Million to kick off my own business, thanks

  5. greg says:

    @Eric Belko

    Hey, Eric… before you go blathering on about Gates not giving back to the world…

  6. Janet Rousch says:

    Mr. Bill Gates:

    Please explain how you came to the decision to use vaccines to KILL OLD PEOPLE. After working nearly 40 years of my life I feel I deserve to live as long as possible (retired at 68 years of age due to having bad knees and ankles).
    Would much appreciate an honest answer to my question.
    Thank you,
    Janet Rousch
    DOB: 7-24-1942