After last week’s successful “Ask Me Anything” chats with George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray, Reddit.com tapped Bill Gates for his second AMA on Monday.
The founder and CEO of Microsoft talked about the future of the company, his philanthropy with the Gates Foundation and… safe sex?
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Users quickly requested updates on last year’s announcement that the Gates Foundation is actively searching for the “Next Generation of Condom.”
“The idea was that men don’t like the current design so perhaps something they would be more open to would allow for less HIV transmission,” Gates wrote on Reddit. While plans are still ongoing, Gates revealed “one grantee is using carbon nanotubes to reduce the [condom’s] thickness.”
Like his previous AMA in December 2013, Gates commented on a variety of topics – from computers capable of learning to the benefits of owning his own plane. For example, his thoughts on his increasingly larger role at Microsoft: “My time will be about 2/3 Foundation and 1/3 Microsoft. I will focus on product work mostly,” he said.
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What innovations Microsoft has in store:
“The OS won’t just be on one device and the information won’t just be files,” Gates said. “It will be your history including being able to review memories of things like kids growing up. I was thrilled [new CEO] Satya [Nadella] asked me to pitch in to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovation. Even in Office there is a lot more than can be done.”
On the subject of Skynet, er, learning computers:
“The ultimate is computers that learn. So called ‘deep learning’ which started at Microsoft and is now being used by many researchers looks like a real advance that may finally learn. It has already made a big difference in video and audio recognition – more progress in the last 3 years than ever before.”
2014 Gates vs. 20-year-old Gates:
“[Twenty] years ago I would stay in my office for days at a time and not think twice about it—so I had energy and naiveté on my side. Now hopefully I am a bit more mellow but with a little extra wisdom.”
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One of his big goals for 2014 – and how we can can help:
“I wish the debate about education would focus on helping teachers improve and what we know about that. Right now it is caught up in state versus federal and testing versus no-testing. In general politics needs to focus on the problems rather than attacking the other side. Asian countries are helping their teachers improve and the impact is huge.”
On the subject of his biggest guilty pleasure (literally):
“Owning a plane is a guilty pleasure. Warren Buffett called his the Indefensible. I do get to a lot of places for Foundation work I wouldn’t be able to go to without it.”
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Casting approval for The Bill Gates Movie:
“Samuel L. Jackson. [My wife, Melinda] would probably watch that version.”
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