The blog of Bill Gates
gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates

8 great questions from readers

Log in
Sign up
 
GO
Your search for "", with selected filters, does not match any posts. Please try again with a different search term or reset filters.

Popular searches include: Books, Malaria, and Future of Food.
RELATED ARTICLES ON
Logout:


spacer
Become a Gates Notes Insider
Join the Gates Notes community to comment on stories, access exclusive content, participate in giveaways, and more.
Already an Insider? Log in
spacer
LOG IN
SIGN UP
Sign up with your social account:
Sign up
Sign up
Or sign up with email:
TITLE
FIRST NAME
LAST NAME
EMAIL
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
PASSWORD
ADDRESS
Why are we collecting this information? Gates Notes may send a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. Additionally, some campaigns and content may only be available to users in certain areas. Gates Notes will never share and distribute your information with external parties.
Bill may send you a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. We will never share your information.
ADDRESS LINE 1
Bill may send you a welcome note or other exclusive Insider mail from time to time. We will never share your information.
ADDRESS LINE 2
CITY
STATE / PROVINCE / REGION
ZIP / POSTAL CODE
COUNTRY
Sign up
Join the Gates Notes community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, subscribe to your favorite topics and more. We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Sign Up" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
Street address
City
postal_town
State Zip code
administrative_area_level_2
Country
Data
Personal Information
Title
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Password
Save
Cancel
Address
ADDRESS LINE 1
ADDRESS LINE 2
CITY
STATE / PROVINCE / REGION
ZIP / POSTAL CODE
COUNTRY
Save
Cancel
Email & Notification Settings
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Send me comment notifications via email
On-screen comment notifications
Interests
+ Saving Lives
+ Energy Innovation
+ Improving Education
+ Alzheimer's
+ Philanthropy
+ Book Reviews
+ About Bill Gates
Deactivate Account
Click the link below to begin the account deactivation process. Deactivate account If you want to permanently delete your account and remove its content, please send us a request here.
Ok
Gates Notes Insider Sign Up FAQ

Q. How do I create a Gates Notes account?

A. There are three ways you can create a Gates Notes account:

  • Sign up with Facebook. We’ll never post to your Facebook account without your permission.
  • Sign up with Twitter. We’ll never post to your Twitter account without your permission.
  • Sign up with your email. Enter your email address during sign up. We’ll email you a link for verification.

Q. Will you ever post to my Facebook or Twitter accounts without my permission?

A. No, never.

Q. How do I sign up to receive email communications from my Gates Notes account?

A. In Account Settings, click the toggle switch next to “Send me updates from Bill Gates.”

Q. How will you use the Interests I select in Account Settings?

A. We will use them to choose the Suggested Reads that appear on your profile page.

spacer
BACK
Forgot your password?
Enter the email you used to sign up and a reset password link will be sent to you.
EMAIL
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Reset Password
Bill's Suggested Posts
I've read this book
Books to Read
Reset your password.
Set New Password
Your password has been reset. You will now be redirected to the sign in page, or you can click here
Ok
Get emails from Bill Gates
Send me updates from Bill
You must provide an email
Send me comment notifications via email
On-screen comment notifications
This email is already registered
Continue
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign up FAQ. By clicking "Continue" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
spacer
You're in!
Please check your email and click the link provided to verify your account.
Didn't get an email from us? Resend verification email
spacer
Update Your Profile Information
UPLOAD A PROFILE PICTURE
your image
Uh Oh!
The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.
Ok
Title
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
EMAIL AND NOTIFICATION SETTINGS
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Send me comment notifications via email
On-screen comment notifications
SELECT YOUR INTERESTS
+ Saving Lives
+ Energy Innovation
+ Improving Education
+ Alzheimer's
+ Philanthropy
+ Book Reviews
+ About Bill Gates
Continue
Confirm Account Deactivation
Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?
Deactivating your account will unsubscribe you from Gates Notes emails, and will remove your profile and account information from public view on the Gates Notes. Please allow for 24 hours for the deactivation to fully process. You can sign back in at any time to reactivate your account and restore its content.
Deactivate My Acccount
Go Back
Your Gates Notes account has been deactivated.
Come back anytime.
Welcome back
In order to unsubscribe you will need to sign-in to your Gates Notes Insider account
Once signed in just go to your Account Settings page and set your subscription options as desired.
Sign In
Request account deletion
We’re sorry to see you go. Your request may take a few days to process; we want to double check things before hitting the big red button. Requesting an account deletion will permanently remove all of your profile content. If you’ve changed your mind about deleting your account, you can always hit cancel and deactivate instead.
Submit
Cancel
Thank You! Your request has been sent
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
This verification token has expired.
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.

Thanks for visiting the Gates Notes.
We'd like your feedback.

Yes, I'll take the survey No thanks
The blog of Bill Gates
8 great questions from readers
Follow
Next
 
Profile & Settings
Sign Out
Profile & Settings
Sign Out
Hello,
Profile & Settings
Comment History
Sign Out
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
today
This verification token has expired.
today
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
today
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
today
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
today
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
today
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
today
0
0
0
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
today
This verification token has expired.
today
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
today
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
today
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
today
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
today
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
today
Back to profile
Comment History
You have not left any comments yet.
title
in reply to
name
description
It looks like you're using an older version of Internet Explorer which may not display all the features on this site. Upgrade Now » close
Queries folk

8 great questions from readers

When we published our latest Annual Letter earlier this month—in which we answer 10 tough questions we get about our work—Melinda and I asked readers to send us their own questions. The response was fantastic (more than 1,700 comments so far). Here are our answers to a few of the sharpest and most common questions.

What would your advice be to young people who want to make a difference in the world for the better?
image image

Bill: Choose a cause that’s important to you and get involved. Whether you can donate your money, your time, or your voice, there are thousands of incredible nonprofits that could use your help. I’m a big fan of ONE, but websites like Charity Navigator and GuideStar can help you find other reputable organizations working on the issues that you care about the most. If you’re interested in volunteering, our foundation put together a good list of resources to help connect you to opportunities.

Melinda: Remember that no one is born a change-maker. It’s something you become when you see a problem, then dare to become part of the solution.

If you want to know what that looks like, just look to the young men and women of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In the wake of unfathomable and unacceptable gun violence, these students are insisting that their tragedy will be the last. “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks,” student Emma Gonzalez said last week. “We are going to change the law.”

This is how change happens. With bravery, hope, commitment—and the knowledge that progress only comes when we stand up and demand it.


How do you feel emotionally when you come across heartbreaking stories? Have you become less emotional and more detached over the years?
image image

Melinda: It’s not easy to sit with parents who tell you about the children they’ve lost, or to visit a hospital where patients have been abandoned because they’re dying of AIDS. And after nearly two decades in this work, I can tell you that it never gets any easier. But instead of turning away or steeling myself up in these situations, I make a conscious choice to stay as open as I can. Because when someone decides to tell you their story, what they’re really doing is pouring their heart out to you—and I believe it’s my job to listen, and ultimately to pour what I hear back into the foundation. The stories Bill and I hear can be heartbreaking, but they keep us focused. They’re a constant reminder of why we’re in this work. 


How do you feel the future of AI will influence our lives and purpose?
image image

Bill: Technology gives us more leisure time by raising productivity. Having things like tractors, dishwashers, and personal computers made it possible to take off weekends, go on vacations, retire earlier, and so on. Artificial intelligence will continue this trend.

I think you’re right to wonder how it will affect our purpose in life. If someday AI lets us make twice as many goods with half as much effort, what will we do with the rest of our time? On one hand, history suggests that having a lot of idle young men can destabilize a society. On the other hand, if we channel people’s energy well, we can harness their talents to become teachers, work with the elderly, and solve other problems.

Melinda: Algorithms are already informing the way doctors treat patients, judges sentence criminals, and banks determine who’s eligible for a loan. AI has the potential to shape those decisions so they’re smarter and fairer for everyone—but only if we can avoid writing racism and sexism into the code, and biasing these systems in a way that will be almost impossible to fix a decade or two from now.

That’s one reason why I’m committed to helping more women and people of color get into tech. I believe we stand a much better chance of getting this technology right—and ensuring it creates a better future for all of us—if we have people of all genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds creating it.


Which form of renewable energy do you believe will be most widely adopted in the fight against climate change?
image image

Bill: It’s too early to say. The group of private investors I mentioned in the letter is focusing on five areas. One is grid-scale storage, which could solve the problem that solar and wind energy are not available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Another is liquid fuels, which involves using the energy of the sun to create hydrocarbons in a process similar to photosynthesis. Geothermal is a third focus area for us. There are many more possibilities, some of which we’re investing in. The key is that the world needs to be aggressively pursuing lots of ideas, because no one really knows yet which ones will lead to the big energy breakthroughs we need.


I am curious about both of your experiences on how women are treated around the world. Over your 18 years, has it improved at all?
image image

Melinda: Looking at the big picture, the answer is a resounding yes. Worldwide, the number of women who have access to modern contraceptives has never been higher. The number of women dying in childbirth has fallen by nearly half in just a single generation. Access to education, jobs, and financial services is becoming more equal every year—a fact you can not only see in the data, but hear in a mother’s voice when she tells you she believes her daughter will live a better life than she did.

Of course, the rapid progress we’ve seen makes the remaining barriers to gender equality even starker. I’m heartbroken when I travel overseas and meet women who still do not have the right to own land or the ability to plan and space their pregnancies. Here in the U.S., I’m outraged to see the same kinds of bias and discrimination I experienced 30 years ago still locking so many women out of leadership positions and career paths. But at the end of the day, I’m optimistic about what the future holds. In 2018, women are speaking out louder than ever. Our voices are being heard. And with the right support, I have no doubt that women’s movements will continue to drive progress toward a world that’s more equitable and more prosperous for everyone.  


How close are we getting to understanding and curing Alzheimer’s?
image image

Bill: I’m optimistic that we’ll see a significant breakthrough within the next 10 to 20 years. Our understanding of how the brain ages is advancing a great deal, and that’s fueling a lot of promising research in new areas. Most of the drug trials so far have focused on two specific pathways to treatment (amyloid and tau). I hope those approaches succeed, but I’m excited that scientists are also beginning to explore less mainstream targets. A more diverse drug pipeline will increase our odds of discovering a breakthrough.


Question for Melinda, can you tell us more about “Pivotal Ventures” & how its work towards “women issues” differs from what the Foundation does?
image image

Melinda: Through years of doing this work, I’ve seen time and again that when women have the tools to do what’s right for themselves and their families, they transform societies.

At the foundation, most of our work is focused on improving global health and helping people lift themselves out of poverty. Empowered women are essential to driving those outcomes, which is why we invest in family planning services, maternal health care, women’s movements, and more.

In 2015, I created an investment and incubation company called Pivotal Ventures. Some of the issues we’re looking at include expanding access to paid family and medical leave, helping more women join and thrive in the tech industry, and closing the enormous gender gap in who’s giving and receiving venture capital. Pivotal’s model is based on partnership. We’re working with a wide range of individuals and organizations with a shared vision for social progress and commitment to improving lives.


What is the one thing you hope humanity will achieve in your lifetime?
image image

Bill: Health equity. I want every person—no matter where you live or what your income level is—to have the same opportunity to grow up and thrive. There are plenty of reasons to think this is achievable, especially when you look at the dramatic improvements the world has made already. The number of children who die before their 5th birthday has been cut in half since 1990, and 86 percent of kids around the world receive basic vaccinations. If we keep making progress, I’m hopeful we will one day live in a world where a child born in sub-Saharan Africa has the same odds of surviving to adulthood as a child born in Europe or the United States.

Also on Gates Notes