October 07, 2016

Bill Gates identifies top 4 global priorities - Affordable energy and Quality Education for all, vaccine for HIV and cures for neurodegerative disease and prevent future epidemics

Top four technologies and goals that Bill Gates thinks should be prioritized to have the best positive global impact

  1. Provide everyone on earth with affordable energy without contributing to climate change.
  2. Develop a vaccine for HIV and a cure for neurodegenerative diseases.
  3. Protect the world from future health epidemics, which might be more infectious than Ebola and more deadly than Zika.
  4. Give every student and teacher new tools so all students get a world-class education.

Provide everyone on earth with affordable energy without contributing to climate change

There is enormous potential to develop technologies that will make energy cheaper and reduce our energy imports without contributing to climate change or air pollution. In the next eight years, we could start the transition to a new type of clean fuel that doesn’t emit carbon, deploy batteries that let electric cars run far longer on a single charge, and produce dramatic drops in the total cost of renewables.

Last year, the U.S. and 20 other countries committed to doubling their energy R and D budgets, and 28 investors pledged to invest in the output of that research. This is only the start. By increasing government support for clean-energy research, presidents and prime ministers could attract more private investors to the field. As early-stage ideas progress, private capital will pour in to build the companies that will deliver those ideas to market.

Develop a vaccine for HIV and a cure for neurodegenerative diseases

With the right leadership and investments over the next decade, we can discover and deliver a vaccine for HIV. Many have forgotten about the scourge of AIDS, treating it like a disease that can be managed instead of the deadly virus that kills more than 1 million people worldwide every year. Based on recent progress, I believe world leaders could help make an effective AIDS vaccine a reality within the next decade. And with a vaccine, we would be on the path to ending the disease altogether.

We can also make tremendous progress on ending neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. These diseases are devastating for the people and families that they affect. They are also huge drivers of out-of-control health care costs, which deplete government budgets that could be used for other critical functions. New digital tools and the rapid advancement of science are providing new momentum and hope in the search for cures.

Protect the world from future health epidemics

Global leaders should be proud of their role in bringing the Ebola crisis to an end and helping the affected countries recover. Many agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. military, did exemplary work in the face of significant risks to their own safety. Other leaders around the world mobilized their infrastructures as well. But the Ebola epidemic and the rise of the Zika virus also highlight the need for new advances. There is a significant chance that a substantially more infectious epidemic will come along during the next decade. If one does, we will need to be able to detect it, develop a test for it, and produce cures very quickly. Using advances in biology, scientists are developing these capabilities. With vision and support, we will be able to identify and prevent epidemics before they devastate families, communities, and economies.

Give every student and teacher new tools so all students get a world-class education

Education is one of the areas in R and D that is often overlooked and can have immediate payoff. The world can develop technologies that can help students learn in ways that are more tailored to their needs. But that is just one part of the equation for educational success. High-quality online courses are still in their infancy. So is personalized learning, which combines classroom time with digital tools to let students move at their own pace. Technology can make teachers’ jobs easier and their work more effective by letting them upload videos of themselves in the classroom, connect with other teachers, watch the best educators at work, and get real-time feedback from their students. The private sector has started work on these ideas, but funding for government research budgets would boost the market and help identify the most effective approaches, giving teachers and students new tools that empower them to do their best work.

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