Bill Gates is Still Smart

Bill Gates is interviewed at Wired on flying cars, the malaria epidemic, and article-writing robots.

* Flying cars are not a very efficient way to move things from one point to another, but getting information at everyones fingertips was more important.

* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has saved more than 5 million lives.

We need a malaria epidemic in the blogging community! Either that or we need people who have seen the malaria epidemic to start blogging. Seriously, we have two communities that don’t intersect with each other. One is about a billion and a half people—families, children—who live in malaria-prone areas.

US Education

Domestically your foundation concentrates on education. How bad are things in the US when it comes to educating the next generation?

Gates: There’s only one metric by which the US is going backward—the amount of education per dollar. That’s pretty impressive, because we’ve doubled the amount we spend over the past 25 years. The actual achievement scores are up a tiny bit. Well, actually it’s mostly flat, and that’s because we aren’t really studying what works and what doesn’t, so why should we expect to have improved? As long as classroom experience stays the same, it probably won’t educate kids any better than it did 20 years ago.

Wired: But don’t statistics show that the US is falling behind other developed countries?

Gates: Yeah, we’re 20th. But don’t panic. We’re not destined to be number one in everything. Yes, we could be way, way, way better in education. But beating Singapore is asking for a lot. They’re pretty hardcore.

What will we be writing about in Wired 20 years from now?

Gates: You’ll still be talking about the fear of robots. That’s a good one to chew on for a long time.

Wired: Which robots?

Gates: The article-writing robots. Seriously, what’s unique about human intelligence will be a topic of interest for way more than 20 years. But the biggest thing in that time period will be the completion of pervasive computing: vision, speech, handwriting, goggles, every surface, infinite machine learning, infinite storage, infinite reliability, at essentially no cost.

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