The one problem in the world Bill Gates 'can't solve'

Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist, and richest man in the world Bill Gates says that despite his extreme wealth, there’s one problem that he just doesn’t know how to solve.

Gates shared his thoughts today during a live “Ask Me Anything,” or “AMA,” session on Reddit, where users could ask him questions directly. This was his fourth time holding such an AMA

“The problem of how we prevent a small group of terrorists using nuclear or biological means to kill millions is something I worry about,” Gates writes.

“If Government does their best work they have a good chance of detecting it and stopping it but I don’t think it is getting enough attention and I know I can’t solve it.”

Gates also shared his thoughts on the ongoing Apple-FBI fight, mostly echoing his past nuanced sentiments that this case will serve as a launching point for important discussions over the surveillance powers of the government. 

Gates writes:

I think there needs to be a discussion about when the government should be able to gather information. What if we had never had wiretapping? Also the government needs to talk openly about safeguards. Right now a lot of people don’t think the government has the right checks to make sure information is only used in criminal situations. So this case will be viewed as the start of a discussion.

I think very few people take the extreme view that the government should be blind to financial and communication data but very few people think giving the government carte blanche without safeguards makes sense. A lot of countries like the UK and France are also going through this debate.

For tech companies there needs to be some consistency including how governments work with each other. The sooner we modernise the laws the better.

It wasn’t all gloom and doom: Ahead of his AMA session, Gates shared a fun video giving his answers to common questions: 

  • Self-driving cars? “Sure, in my lifetime, they will be commonplace. There’ll be cities where they don’t allow you to drive a car.”
  • Living forever? “I’m not sure that’s such a good thing. It’s hard to contemplate what the world would be like. I’m not sure if I had that right I’d exercise it.”
  • Making friends? “I’m open to new friends, but there won’t be many, because I have a lot of longtime friends.” 

Here’s the video, cute animations and all:

In fact, Gates really pulled out all the stops to promote this AMA, even recreating his famous high school yearbook photo:



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