Bill Gates: Here's the 1 question I'd ask a time traveler about the future

Bill Gates: Here's the 1 question I'd ask a time traveler about the future


If Bill Gates met a time traveler from the yr 2100, his first question would not be about his household, or Microsoft’s inventory value.

Instead, he’d ask: Are people thriving? “In the finish, it is all measured via human welfare,” Gates mentioned on the most recent episode of his podcast, “Unconfuse Me.”

In the episode, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder interviewed University of Oxford information scientist Hannah Ritchie, whose book “Not the End of the World” presents an optimistic tackle how the world can win its battle in opposition to local weather change.

Gates requested Ritchie for her “prime questions” to ask a time traveler from the future. Her response: What proportion of the world’s inhabitants can stay on as much as $20 a day in 2100? The reply would reveal fairly a bit about poverty charges in the future, and whether or not “we have now made progress on well being, agriculture, poverty,” Ritchie mentioned.

Currently, greater than 9% of the world — over 700 million individuals — has to subsist on lower than $2.15 per day, a stage that signifies excessive poverty, in keeping with the World Bank. If a significant slice of persons are residing on nearer to $20 a day by 2100, particularly in decrease revenue nations, that “can be a tremendous achievement,” mentioned Ritchie — and a signal that humanity doubtless made progress in mitigating local weather change.

“My assumption can be that local weather change hadn’t had extraordinarily devastating impacts, the place agriculture was ruined and well being outcomes have been actually poor, and folks have been plunged into poverty,” Ritchie mentioned.

At first, Gates mentioned he’d want to inquire about vitality manufacturing and synthetic intelligence. “How are you producing vitality? Is it fusion or fission or some sudden factor?” he requested. “And then perceive how the AI was both serving to them come collectively … or how they handled that problem.”

Fusion and fission are kinds of nuclear vitality. Gates has touted each as promising clear vitality sources — co-founding nuclear energy startup TerraPower in 2006 — that may help fight climate change.

Gates has additionally pushed back on varied doomsday scenarios round the development of AI, saying the expertise can finally assist the world solve global challenges in areas like well being and training. He nonetheless serves as an advisor to Microsoft, which has invested billions of {dollars} in AI analysis startup OpenAI, after leaving its board of administrators in 2020.

But upon reflection, regardless of his private pursuits in vitality and AI, Gates modified his thoughts and aligned his response extra intently with Ritchie’s question. The greatest inquiry can be one which reveals the normal well-being of people throughout the globe, he mentioned.

“You’re proper,” mentioned Gates. “The report card is not the ways. It’s the high quality of life.”

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