Bill Gates returned to Reddit Tuesday for his sixth Ask Me Anything (AMA), and as always the questions for the Microsoft co-founder ranged from the philanthropic work he and his wife are doing at their foundation to whether he gets up in the night to make himself a sandwich.
Gates spent an hour on Tuesday answering dozens of questions from the thousands that were submitted.
He said he will not be running for president in 2020; he’s not a big beer drinker; his wife Melinda Gates is among his favorite celebrities; he thinks the speculative wave around crypto currencies is super risky; he’s certain there will be another financial crisis similar to what happened in 1998; and he doesn’t snack much.
Gates also discussed what he missed about no longer being at Microsoft and he even offered to escalate an issue one Redditor had with the Windows On-Screen Keyboard. That reply scored the most points of the entire discussion, as people reacted to the level of customer service Gates exhibited on behalf of the tech giant.
Read on for a selection of some of the better questions and answers:
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but would you consider running for President in 2020? “I won’t be running for President because I am super committed to the work Melinda and I are doing at the Foundation and outside the Foundation. I agree it is important to have a President who thinks long term about the US role in the world and the research to solve disease burdens and costs and to tackle climate change and improve education.
“I do think people are expecting too much from Government. Yes Government can do better but local groups can do a lot that government can’t — helping out in schools, reaching out to people in poverty. This is also true internationally. I would like to see this civil society sector step up a lot more. Some issues like abortion or even immigration we may never get a consensus on but there are things like better health and better education that we can achieve.”
What kind of reaction (if any) do you get from politicians, concerning health, educational and social politics? Do they feel undermined by your initiatives through the Gates foundation? “Politicians have been nice about the Foundation work. Many have done great work to make sure aid levels stay strong including in Europe and the US. I wish some of them had more time to dig into the specifics. Sometimes Melinda and I travel with politicians to go see the work in Africa.”
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Whats your opinion on crypto currencies? “The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing. The Governments ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long.”
What do you feel/know that is one very solvable problem that society (or most likely, government) is ignoring? “I think that health care costs, education and poverty/mobility deserve a lot more thinking and innovation than they get today. The benefit of getting these things right would be amazing. With all the talk about inequity it is interesting that we still work on vertical areas like health, education, housing, food, etc.. as separate things rather than having a full view of the challenges someone faces.”