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Bill Gates: Internet Will Not Save the World 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-if-it's-a-fiber-connection? dept.
quantr points out an interview with Bill Gates in which he talks about setting priorities for making a difference in the world. Quoting: "The internet is not going to save the world, says the Microsoft co-founder, whatever Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley's tech billionaires believe. But eradicating disease just might. Bill Gates describes himself as a technocrat. But he does not believe that technology will save the world. Or, to be more precise, he does not believe it can solve a tangle of entrenched and interrelated problems that afflict humanity's most vulnerable: the spread of diseases in the developing world and the poverty, lack of opportunity and despair they engender. 'I certainly love the IT thing,' he says. 'But when we want to improve lives, you've got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition.' These days, it seems that every West Coast billionaire has a vision for how technology can make the world a better place. A central part of this new consensus is that the internet is an inevitable force for social and economic improvement; that connectivity is a social good in itself. It was a view that recently led Mark Zuckerberg to outline a plan for getting the world's unconnected 5 billion people online, an effort the Facebook boss called 'one of the greatest challenges of our generation.' But asked whether giving the planet an internet connection is more important than finding a vaccination for malaria, the co-founder of Microsoft and world's second-richest man does not hide his irritation: 'As a priority? It's a joke.'"
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Bill Gates: Internet Will Not Save the World

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  • by Calibax (151875) * on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:40PM (#45304631)

    Years ago, when I was a zoology major in university, I spent some time working on a study of elephant migration paths in Africa.

    It was an eye opening experience. I was staggered by the sheer poverty, the lack of access to safe drinking water and food, the high rates of preventable illness, and the high rate of child deaths. I remember a woman living in Uganda who made "biscuits" for children made with washed dirt simply so they could get something into their stomachs that would reduce the hunger pains and not kill them. I don't give to USA charities since then. I give all my charity dollars to people who are doing outstanding work in areas of disease and poverty.

    I have no idea what people struggling to find food would do with the internet. Would it enrich their lives? I don't see how. Would it save them from disease? Would it allow their children greater likelyhood to see their fifth birthday?

    Bill Gates has the right idea. I just wish other very rich people had as much sense and willingness to spend their money to help people.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:48PM (#45304783)

      Imagine having a library in your village that could show you how to build water condensers, new farming techniques, basic chemistry that could improve your quality of life, really ANY piece of information you could conceive of as well as the ability to communicate remotely with other vilalges trying to overcome similar problems at the touch of your hands.

      But no, better to hand out fish then give access to fishing instructions.

      Knowledge is power.

      • by Austrian Anarchy (3010653) on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:53PM (#45304849) Homepage Journal

        Imagine having a library in your village that could show you how to build water condensers, new farming techniques, basic chemistry that could improve your quality of life, really ANY piece of information you could conceive of as well as the ability to communicate remotely with other vilalges trying to overcome similar problems at the touch of your hands.

        But no, better to hand out fish then give access to fishing instructions.

        Knowledge is power.

        This is the stuff right here. It is not just one or the other, both are important. Having someone parachute in and give everybody shots is one noble and great thing. Having someone drive up right behind him with a library is yet another.

        • by xevioso (598654) on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:57PM (#45305787)

          This is asinine. Do you realize the literacy rate in these countries?

          This is why a "library" is useless for these people. They have very little time to even go to school in the poorest parts of the world because they are spending their time trying to make a subsistence living. That is how our ancestors lived, and people were only able to go to school and concentrate and learn once they had food in their bellies.

          Someone parachuting in, not with a library, but with the KNOWLEDGE the library contains, and the willingness and money to build the infrastructure for them is better.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @07:41PM (#45306881)

            Chicken, meet egg. I work with in Northern Mozambique. Low literacy is a problem, not because kids (and adults) don't want to read but because there's no books. You learn a bit at school on a chalkboard but go home and there's nothing.

            The internet is where my kids do most of their reading. After having been here five years, witnessing culture, rumor and tradition, I think the number one way to prevent disease is education. The cheapest, fastest way to teach this stuff? The internet.

          • by Pav (4298)
            Watch this TED talk... these kids teach themselves english, how to use a computer, how to use the Internet etc... all because they were given access to a computer literally in a hole in the wall.
            • by Pav (4298) on Friday November 01, 2013 @09:17PM (#45307733)
              Oops... I guess that'll learn me for not previewing : Watch this TED talk... these kids teach themselves english, how to use a computer, how to use the Internet etc... all because they were given access to a computer literally in a hole in the wall [ted.com].
          • Building the infrastructure in a lot of these countries doesn't matter. If you don't value human life it is only a matter of time before some idiot decides that only his tribe should have access to water and breaks the wells. Or there is a war and the knowledgeable people all go home. Help can't equal do it for them because just like in star trek interfering with a culture before they are ready to use technology responsibly isn't a good idea. Save everyone from malaria so the shitheads can rape and kill the

      • Imagine being starving and having no ability to do anything for yourself. You need the fish to get yourself at a basic level before someone teaches you to fish. You need to know the value of the fish and know that understanding how you can acquire your own fish is beneficial and will improve your life quality. You need to understand the value of water condensers, farming techniques, etc, first. Then you learn them. You need both levels.
        • by citizenr (871508)

          Imagine being starving and having no ability to do anything for yourself.

          This is the current level of affairs in Africa, and the most popular answer to this problem is 'make babies like rabbits, because nothing solves problems better than kids with swollen abdomen and flies in their eyes'.

      • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:41PM (#45305553) Homepage

        Imagine having a library in your village that could show you how to build water condensers, new farming techniques, basic chemistry that could improve your quality of life, really ANY piece of information you could conceive of as well as the ability to communicate remotely with other vilalges trying to overcome similar problems at the touch of your hands.

        But no, better to hand out fish then give access to fishing instructions.

        Knowledge is power.

        You know, this sounds like a great idea in practice.

        In reality it is quite different. I agree with Calibax. Having seen the poverty first hand and having worked to help build a medical clinic in Kenya, as well as my Ex, who runs a charity in Tanzania.

        We got them some of these books, and some of this knowledge. They have access to a lot of it believe it or not. The problem is not that they don't know how to do it, but the same infrastructure problems that bother us in the modern world. We might "know" that building a good rail network in a city area will improve infrastructure - but politics and other factors get in the way.

        In the same way, gaining access to clean water sounds like it should make a difference, just give the people the knowledge of how to build that dam and water pipe, as well as a sand filter system, and it will all be fixed right?

        Not in my experience. People in poor countries are just like us, but with fewer "toys". They procrastinate, they like to have fun. They would love to own an ipod or iphone. They are more concerned with getting the next meal and next "fun" thing than they are with building infrastructure. When is the last time you went out and built yourself a water line by hand? They just don't see it as a priority. I know this because when we worked on one trying to bring cleaner water to the clinic, all the locals wondered why we would bother when you could just get water from the stream like they always have. And yes, they know that the stream water would make them sick, but it is rather like dealing with a smoker - they have got along just fine this far with stream or swamp water, why should they change if things are working fine? There are other things to worry about.

        So, in my experience, they have the material to teach them how to change, but are so focused on living day to day that they don't have the mental bandwidth to build infrastructure projects like you would expect. In my experience, Bill Gates approach is the right one - fix the basic needs first, then they will have the mental bandwidth to devote to projects.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday November 01, 2013 @06:00PM (#45305821)

        But no, better to hand out fish then give access to fishing instructions.

        Maybe so. There is a very interesting article [economist.com] in this week's Economist Magazine that compared different methods of helping the poor. One of the most effective is "Unconditional Cash Transfers" or UCTs, that basically just hand out cash to poor families in Africa. This was surprisingly effective, because these poor families knew what they needed a lot better than the aid agencies, and there was so little overhead that nearly all the money went to the people in need rather than being eaten up by overhead and administration. There were a few limitations: the UCTs worked better when they went to women rather than men, and CCTs (Conditional Cash Transfers) that required children to attend school were found to have better long term results than UCTs. But otherwise, UCTs and CCTs were more effective than nearly any other charity scheme.

        Knowledge is power.

        Indeed. But your mistake is assuming that you have it and the poor people don't.

        • Those and micro-loans for small businesses in the third world.
          • I went to that Kiva site after seeing ads all over Hulu and was, frankly, quite appalled at the usury rates that the local loan sharks are charging when lending the money you donate.

            I like the idea of making it a loan rather than a hand-out, but they should be charging normal interest rates, or even no interest. They don't need to cover the risk cost because there isn't any - that's the whole point of donating money, you expect to lose it.

            • A big part of it is the inflation rate. Ex. I looked at one in offering loans in Mongolia at ~19% interest. The thing is inflation has been around 15% there so the effective interest rate is only about 4%. With defaults the return on investment was quoted at 1.8% which is probably about right.

              I get the donate part and I don't expect to see my money again but I'd like to see it sustain itself. Otherwise you are dumping money into something that has no chance of helping: buying a car for a guy to be taxi driv

      • by nojayuk (567177)

        What are the few people in the village able to read books in this magical library going to build the magical water condensers out of? The nearest Home Depot is five thousand miles away and they don't take IOUs. New farming techniques are a faster way to die of starvation in most situations as it takes a few years of experimental crop failures to develop something new and better than the locals hadn't discovered over the past few hundred years of famines.

        • Growing a crop that some teapot dictator comes and feeds to his cousins isn't a pretty effective way of getting ahead either. People have to have stability to have a reasonable expectation of profit to invest in the future. Otherwise they'll sit on the ground and wait for a meal to be delivered to them or eat the grain rather than feed it to the chickens or save it to plant for next year. This is a vast generalization though. A bunch of countries in Africa are making significant gains. Opportunies give you

      • by Pinhedd (1661735)

        Fishing instructions are worthless to anyone who can't read or doesn't have a fishing boat.

        Pharmaceutical information is worthless to anyone who is 1,000 kilometers away from the nearest pharmacy.

        New farming techniques are worthless to anyone that is unable to farm because all the fertile land has been seized by the local warlord.

        Knowledge is nice, but it isn't quite as powerful as you might think.

      • by Shadowmist (57488)
        That applies having the tools and the infrastructure to make use of that knowledge. If you can't store food, you can't eat, and you can't even read, and you and your children are drinking out of infested water, then certain basic needs have to be addressed before we sink funds into giving them wikipedia access.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Helping the poorest of the poor is indeed good and we have managed to lift many out of extreme poverty (less than $1.25/day) but we've not made the same progress on lifting people further out of the very poor (less than $2/day). Like for example India where 33% live in extreme poverty and 69% are very poor or Pakistan where 21% live in extreme poverty but 60% is very poor. Those billions of people also need a lift so we're more to help drag the poorest billion out of poverty.

    • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:53PM (#45305753) Homepage Journal

      When I was a kid I did Unicef collection every Haloween. We got an orange cardboard coin box at school, and collected donations to it along with our trick-or-treat. Unicef used these funds to build water wells for people in Africa who had only access to contaminated surface water.

      A decade or two later, we found that many of these wells accessed aquifers that were contaminated by arsenic. And that thus we kids had funded the wholesale poisoning of people in Africa, and that a lot of them had arsenic-induced cancers that were killing them.

      OK, we would not make that mistake again, and today we have access to better water testing. But it caused me to lose my faith that we really do know how to help poor people in the third world, no matter how well-intentioned we are.

      And we had better not go around curing disease withoput also promoting birth control. Despite what the churches say, and the local dislikes and prejudices. Or we'll just be condemning more people to starve.

      • by lgw (121541)

        And we had better not go around curing disease withoput also promoting birth control. Despite what the churches say, and the local dislikes and prejudices. Or we'll just be condemning more people to starve

        Well, you're unlikely to persuade a Catholic charity to do that, but others can (and do) take up the slack. Heck, even in predominately Catholic countries people stop having so many children once child mortality drops (with about a 1-generation lag), and their priests are smart enough not to enquire too closely. Cure diseases now, people are smart enough to manage the birth rate later.

      • by Guppy (12314) on Friday November 01, 2013 @08:16PM (#45307173)

        A decade or two later, we found that many of these wells accessed aquifers that were contaminated by arsenic. And that thus we kids had funded the wholesale poisoning of people in Africa, and that a lot of them had arsenic-induced cancers that were killing them.

        Are you sure you're not mixing up two different stories here? Although trace amounts of Arsenic are common in aquifers that contact certain kinds of alluvial sediments, only a few areas have experienced really high concentrations. In particular, this has happened with shallow tube wells in India and Bangladesh [who.int]. These types of wells were extremely cheap, and were drilled in the millions starting around the 1970's with UNICEF assistance; I am unaware of any similar large-scale occurrence of contamination in Africa.

        On looking at the morbidity and mortality modeling from the WHO link, I wouldn't automatically label it an complete tragedy right away, either. The amount of Cancer and other diseases from arsenic contamination (chronic ingestion, the concentration is not the kind required for acute poisoning) is definitely non-trivial. However, following the implementation of the tube wells, infant mortality dropped by something like half (keeping in mind this that the high starting point of mortality means half of a fairly big number), with substantial reductions in prevalence of waterborne diseases. It is entirely possible that the number of lives (and maybe person-years of life) saved by the wells could outnumber those that were lost.

        Actually, I strongly suspect that the person-years of life saved could be greatly more than the number lost, but I can't directly substantiate the possibility with numbers, except to say there is evidence that recent anti-arsenic campaigns have resulted in increases in infant mortality [mit.edu], due to avoidance or loss of well water leading to greater use of microbially contaminated water supplies.

        Obviously, it would be great to have both clean water with no arsenic at all. Possible with deeper but more expensive wells that have been gradually replacing the older wells (it sounds like other strategies like filtration and rain-water storage have sustainability problems when implemented out in the field), but I doubt UNICEF or similar charitable organizations can get the money they need these days to replace them all at a sweep.

        • by Guppy (12314)

          Wanted to post a clarification:
          http://web.mit.edu/j-pal/www/book/Arsenic_InfantMortality_feb10.pdf [mit.edu]

          On the other end of the spectrum, the calculations by Lokuge et al. (2004) of the dis-
          ease burden from arsenic exposure that take into account only "strong causal evidence" from
          existing studies estimate that arsenic-related disease leads to the loss of 174,174 disability-
          adjusted life years (DALYs) per year among the population exposed to arsenic concentrations
          of more than 50 ppb, which amounts to 0.3% of the disease burden, compared with diarrheal
          disease which accounts for between 7.2% and 12.1% of the total disease burden.

          Since infant mortality results in a disproportionate DALY impact compared with adult morbidity and mortality, I suspect the percentage of DALY disease burden impact gets skewed, but overall I think my previous point stands.

        • My google search on the issue came up with Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Bangladesh. Two of which seem to be African, the latter South Asian I guess.

          I'm sure you can come up with better data.

          Besides infant mortality, there's probably unreported miscarriage.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      Well, anyone who has a friend or a relative with some resources could theoretically use the internet to tell faraway relatives that the kids are eating dirt and ask for any little bit of assistance that they could get.

      The way they're actually doing this is by using simple GSM phones with voice and text. Mobile phone penetration is close to 50% in Africa as a whole and growing rapidly, so most people either own a phone or are able to borrow one if they need to make an important call or send an important text

    • by sootman (158191)

      > I have no idea what people struggling to find food would do
      > with the internet. Would it enrich their lives? I don't see how.
      > Would it save them from disease? Would it allow their
      > children greater likelyhood to see their fifth birthday?

      Starvation is not the ONLY problem in the world. There are plenty of people who do have food, and have other problems instead, for whom the Internet would be a great help. Technology isn't the answer to everything, but that doesn't mean it's useless. It's not

    • by ultranova (717540)

      I have no idea what people struggling to find food would do with the internet. Would it enrich their lives? I don't see how. Would it save them from disease? Would it allow their children greater likelyhood to see their fifth birthday?

      It links them up as part of the greater worldwide community, which in turn gives access to information, provides opportunities to earn cash, and makes it easier to pool resources with nearby communities to build infrastructure. Or, for that matter, ask for help - the world ac

  • Eradicating disease sounds like a noble pursuit and indeed Nobel prizes have been awarded for efforts there. However the problem with success is that disease is one of natures ways of keeping populations in check. The other natural method of keeping populations in check is predators and we humans have pretty much eliminated most of our natural predators. Were one of the very rare species that dies from old age, a luxury not available to most of the animal kingdom.

    Overpopulation is a serious problem in parts

    • by JMZero (449047) on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:07PM (#45305063) Homepage

      Well, that's the naive cynical view. The reality is that as societies become more wealthy (particularly, as they move out of starvation/subsistence) they have less children (not more), and an important part of getting out of the poverty trap is reducing disease (which destroys a tremendous amount of labor). It's not the only step, obviously, but it is a step in the right direction (even if we are trying to behave as idealized, heartless social planning robots, and ignore all the current suffering this could mitigate).

    • by Ravaldy (2621787)

      I wish I could find the link to the great presentation a professor did on TED. It showed how better healthcare, increase in lifestyle and education directly resulted in reduced births per family.

    • by somepunk (720296)

      Education, access to health services, and increasing affluence will do wonders for reducing fertility rates. Bangledesh is a striking example of this. Also, consumption is a bigger problem than population overall. The average westerner has something like 13x the carbon footprint of a person living in subsaharan africa, IIRC.

    • by fermion (181285)
      First, everyone who says this is like sour grapes is correct. The internet was and is MS undoing.

      Second, overpopulation is the issue. We all want a better lifestyle and there is no way to avoid that. As more people live, and more people want stuff, the planet is going to have big issues. The mantra used to be that the planet cannot handle every person in China owning a refrigerator. China is dealing with that reality now. It is not pretty. The only way to deal with overpopulation is change our cons

  • One Kickstarter campaign could feed a whole village for 30 years.
  • I'm not saying Gates is necessarily wrong, but it is awfully convenient that the most important issue for the world just happens to be the one his charity is involved in.

    I question whether you can even know what will "save the world". Look at risks to human civilization. What is the impact of malaria on the population versus say, an asteroid crashing into our planet? The latter is more catastrophic to the survival of our species than the former, but the probability of occurrence is much lower.

    What if the In

    • by JMZero (449047)

      but it is awfully convenient that the most important issue for the world just happens to be the one his charity is involved in

      He didn't just find himself running a disease charity, so therefore he's claiming that's what's important. He chose to set up a charity for what he felt was the most important problem. You can say he's wrong if you want, sure - but saying it's "convenient" is really silly; you're getting the causality chain completely backwards.

    • by bloodhawk (813939)

      I'm not saying Gates is necessarily wrong, but it is awfully convenient that the most important issue for the world just happens to be the one his charity is involved in.

      What a moronic statement, it isn't convenient at all. He picked what he thought was the most important issue facing the world and created his charity around addressing that, how the fuck is that "convenient".

  • Of course ... 5 billion more facebook accounts, more product for Facebook to sell to advertisers.

  • The free flow of information—that is, the Great Discussion—is already helping people identify and eliminate the stupidity in their own respective cultures/socities.

    Cryptographic technologies are allowing countercultures and new ideas to blossom in protected environments, and decentralize the control of resources, thereby allowing society to evolve more effectively by variation and selection.

    The Internet will save the world. The Internet is already saving the world.

    • by slew (2918)

      The internet is a tool, nothing more.

      Like any tool it could be used for "good" or bad. Cryptographic techology allows both counter-cultures and terrorist networks to blossom (good or bad depending on your politics), and allows people to protect their IP from piracy (good or bad depending on your politics). Decentralized control of resources can be good (more experiments), or bad (segregation, discrimination). Unfortunatly just as it decentralizes, the internet also appears to be concentrating other resou

      • The internet is a tool, nothing more.

        Language is a tool, nothing more. Before language the minds of your peers were unknown to you. You largely feared each other in situations where it was better safe than sorry. Society was very limited in its ability to better mankind.

        After language an explosion of civilization occurred. The written word allowed ideas to live in tact beyond a mind's life and be refined over time. Ideas larger than a single head could be processed and the centers where such knowledge was gathered were marvels of scientif

        • by slew (2918)

          Language of course is as old as the hills and probably the biggest thing that separates us from other animals. However, the internet as we know it will be just another flash in the pan along the way.

          Although the speed that current language is propagated is welcomed by some, the propagation is also serving to kill off local languages at lighting speed. English and (Mandarin) Chinese seem to be the only languages making headway in this new era and many languages are in a precipitous decline. Some think tha

          • by ultranova (717540)

            We may all live w/o famine and disease, but some cultures may not survive the translation to English and Chinese.

            Even if this was true, I very much doubt anyone would choose famine and disease over keeping their traditions pure - I'm assuming you weren't implying we should make the choice for them to provide ourselves with more cultural diversity. But of course it's not true. Archeology would not be possible if it was. None of the world religions could exist if it was. Iliad and Odyssey would be incomprehe

  • by Andrio (2580551) on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:04PM (#45305013)

    Giving people treatment to diseases is great, but it's a short term solution. What happens in 10 years, if you're not around to give them treatment?

    People in underdeveloped countries need to be able to self-sustain themselves. Even if they can't develop a treatment themselves, they should be able to economically support importing it. Education is what's needed for all of this, and the internet is the best tool for education.

    So, we need both short term (giving them the treatment they need) and long term (giving them the tools they need to advance).

    • by Ravaldy (2621787)

      The efforts in these 3rd world countries are more than providing supplies. They actually show people how to dig wells and find drinkable water. There are communities that have been built on this concept and that have become self sufficient.

      Internet requires computers and computer require electricity. To get to the point where computers can help these people, they need to develop infrastructure and that requires people going there and teach them how to build communities. That is where the funding needs to go

      • by cowdung (702933)

        The efforts in these 3rd world countries are more than providing supplies. They actually show people how to dig wells and find drinkable water. There are communities that have been built on this concept and that have become self sufficient.

        Internet requires computers and computer require electricity. To get to the point where computers can help these people, they need to develop infrastructure and that requires people going there and teach them how to build communities. That is where the funding needs to go at this point in time.

        No. Progress in "3rd world countries" comes about when people are empowered to look at their own problems and find their own solutions to them rather than have "experts" from the "developed world" come and tell them what to do.

    • by cowdung (702933)

      People in "under-developed" countries are not the only ones in trouble in this world. Those in Europe and the US shouldn't think that they're future is necessarily better than those in the "third world".

      What will save the world is a profound recognition of the oneness of humankind, that we all have rights and responsibilities, that we all should be respected and that the only way to solve our problems is learning how to collaborate. Also, the vast majority of humanity must learn to solve its own problems ra

      • by russotto (537200)

        People in "under-developed" countries are not the only ones in trouble in this world. Those in Europe and the US shouldn't think that they're future is necessarily better than those in the "third world".

        You may have a point. Long after western society collapses, the poor in Africa will likely continue to suffer just as they do today.

        What will save the world is a profound recognition of the oneness of humankind,

        The reality is, there is no oneness of humankind. A rock falls on my head tomorrow and I die, yo

  • The Internet is a tool, subject to the human will and policies.

    "eradicating disease" is instead long, constant process that requires multiple tools, innovation and people.
    It also already has an objective (saving people's lifes).

    So, we are comparing a mere object with no specific objective to a long, evolving process with a specific goals...

    Color me unimpressed.
    But even "eradicating disease" per se doesn't save the world, first because "the world" is not "the people", and because having the cure doesn't me

  • Don't give a... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by photosonic (830763) on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:18PM (#45305239)
    Mark Zuckerberg's and the like don't give a shit personally about the other people who don't have internet connection and the reasons they are not online. They just want them online for revenue. Get them online, make advertising dollars from them, let them figure out how to survive life.
    • Mark Zuckerberg's and the like don't give a shit personally about the other people who don't have internet connection and the reasons they are not online. They just want them online for revenue. Get them online, make advertising dollars from them, let them figure out how to survive life.

      Did Bill Gates care about the wider world when he was Zuckerberg's age? Wasn't he busy building a monolithic and morally questionable business?
      I imagine it's rather easier to look good in the eyes of the world when you're sitting on enough money to do something about it, and the days when you collected that money are over.

  • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Friday November 01, 2013 @05:43PM (#45305603)
    That the internet was just a fad, and not a priority for Microsoft?
    Or at least something to that effect?
    I think it was in his book.
  • The important part is that when we send food and supplies, part of the supplies should be education tech. Its going to take a very long time to raise the floor in Africa, but tech modestly and intelligently applied will make incredibly widespread progress.
  • Ok, give me a trophy. Call me a really negative idiot or whatever. But seriously folks over population is an urgent and overwhelming issue. If you want a healthier world, a more employable population, less diseases, wars and poverty then the last thing you want to do is save lives. Saving lives is only valuable when you have firm control over birth rates. For those with very short memories the population bomb is real, it is here now, and it is eating us alive. If you think thing suck now wait until ano

  • ...saving the world from Humanity?
  • Why can't we have both?

  • Energy use fundamentally underlies all economic activity, and this is primarily a technological issue. The general ignorance regarding this relationship and what it implies about how we produce energy can theoretically be addressed by the Internet as it is an issue of consciousness.

    Gail Tverberg's excellent article on the matter should be carefully considered: http://oilprice.com/Finance/the-Economy/Why-Rising-Energy-Costs-are-Responsible-for-Widespread-Economic-Recession.html [oilprice.com]

    The globe consumes on the order

  • The internet can save the world, and is doing so right now.

    Consider the widespread awakening of people, organizations and communities to the details and orchestrations of world government.

    The psycho paths who have deliberately destroyed countless civilizations in the past, no longer can destroy in complete secrecy.

    If we lose this civilization, it will be because most people want it too happen.

    The destruction of obsolescence of such concepts of freedom, liberty and personal virtue is every where in the news:

  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Saturday November 02, 2013 @06:10AM (#45309975) Homepage
    The Earth is overpopulated. That's the fundamental problem we all face. Eradicating disease is a worthy aim, but will only make this underlying problem worse. I'm not suggesting we shouldn't eradicate disease, but it must be coupled with real action on overpopulation. Even thinking about the problem would be a start.
  • Has Bill really thought out his quest to it's logical conclusion? It's great if we can save lives and cure malaria, but then what? Who's going to feed these millions/billions of mouths? Aren't we just going to save them from disease only to have them die from starvation?
  • Translation: What I am doing is right, and whateveryone else is doing is wrong.

    I'd say he's slightly biased. I guess this is payback for people not liking him, or his products, or his predatory practices

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