Bill Gates on the future of computing

Photo: OnInnovation

Photo: OnInnovation

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft,(s MSFT) took to Reddit and chatted about scores of issues. I found this one bit particularly interesting. While he might not preside over Microsoft like he once did, Gates is an astute observer of technology trends.

Robots, pervasive screens, speech interaction will all change the way we look at “computers”. Once seeing, hearing, and reading (including handwriting) work very well you will interact in new ways.

Of his other comments, I found this one pretty telling and it resonated with me:

If the microprocessor had NOT come along I am not sure what I would have done. Maybe medicine or theoretical math but it is hard to say.

And here is what he had to say about Steve Jobs:

He and I respected each other. Our biggest joint project
was the Mac where Microsoft had more people on the project than Apple did as we wrote a lot of applications. I saw Steve regularly over the years including spending an afternoon with him a few months before he tragically passed away.

Does he still code and if so in which language?

Not as much as I would like to. I write some C, C# and some Basic. I am surprised new languages have not made more progress in simplifying programming. It would be great if most high school kids were exposed to programming…

On a more macro topic, what needs changing in the world that money cannot help?

It would be nice if all governments were as rational as the Nordic governments – reaching compromise and providing services broadly. The Economist had a nice special section on this last week. Africa governments have often been weak but you can’t write a check to change that. Fortunately the average quality is going up. Mo Ibrahim tracks this in a great way. (

Which world-wide health cause could be solved with just a bit more in terms of attention and resources?

Polio is the first thing to get done since we are close. Within 6 years we will have the last case. After that we will go after malaria and measles. Malaria kills over 500,000 kids every year mostly in Africa and did not get enough attention until the last decade. We also need vaccines to prevent HIV and TB which are making progress…