Over the last decade, Bill Gates has transformed himself into an icon of philanthropy as the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recently, he took a spot in the virtual hot seat and turned the mic over to the Reddit community for an in-depth Ask Me Anything (AMA) session.
Here are five of the most intriguing questions and responses:
What would you still like to achieve that you haven’t? — Swcomisac
thisisbillgates: The goal of the Foundation is that all kids grow up healthy – no matter where they are born. That means getting rid of malaria and many of the other diseases that affect poor countries. It should be achievable in my lifetime.
It’s well known you are an avid reader – what are a few books that come to your mind when asked to recommend reading materials for anyone that can have a true impact on their life – either professionally or personally? — TheQueenIsASpy
thisisbillgates: I read a lot of non-fiction. There are so many great book[s]. I do reviews on gatesnotes.com. I am reading Hacking Darwin now – about gene editing getting very popular and what policies should control the usage. I love books that explain things like Smil’s Energy and Civilization or all of Pinker’s books. Factfulness by the Roslings is very readable – a great place to start to get a framework for the progress of humanity.
What’s a piece of technology that’s theoretical now that you wish you could make possible immediately? — Ironsheik84
thisisbillgates: However if I had one wish to make a new technology it would be a solution to malnutrition. Almost half the kids in poor countries grow up without their body or brain developing fully so they miss most of their potential. Second would be an HIV vaccine.
If you could go back in time and give your younger-self advice what would you say? — ImStarks
thisisbillgates: I was overly intense and socially inept. I would try and make myself more self-aware without getting rid of the focus and desire to learn.
I work in health-care in South Africa and I just want to say thank you for the work that your foundation has been doing for HIV research here. My question is how do I feel like I’m doing enough? With all the pain and suffering that I see every day, it’s hard to feel like I am actually making a difference in the grand scheme of things. How do you deal with feeling like it’s a never-ending struggle to actually make a difference and help people? — 511234
thisisbillgates: Your point is a great one. As soon as you get engaged in solving problems you have to face how tough things are. You need to focus on how much you can improve things and feel good about that. We need more people to visit Africa to see the progress but also to see how much needs to be done. Nothing is as good as meeting people who have to live with malaria or HIV or see their children die. People like yourself who work on the front lines deserve immense credit. Over time the deaths and suffering will go down but I am sure some days that is hard to see.
Hello, how’s your day going and what have you been watching on Netflix and/or TV right now? — ABrownForestShark
thisisbillgates: Melinda and I watch things like Silicon Valley, This is Us, A Million Little Things. I watched The Americans with my son (too violent for Melinda). I watched Narcos by myself. Billions, Lie to Me, Friday Night Lights, American Vandal, Black Mirror. There are so many good shows — people tell me about them but I can’t watch them all!
Want to hear more from Bill? Check out the annual letter penned by him and Melinda Gates.
*Questions and answers have been shortened for clarity. Image via Flickr.