The truth of Moore's law has made remarkable things possible. On the software side, I think natural user interfaces in all their forms are equally significant.
The Green Revolution focused on the big three -- maize, rice and wheat -- and the Green Revolution did not adapt the big three to African conditions, other than South Africa, as much as they should have.
Should surveillance be usable for petty crimes like jaywalking or minor drug possession? Or is there a higher threshold for certain information? Those aren't easy questions.
No one person controls Microsoft. The board and the shareholders decide whether they want to have me as CEO.
Philanthropy should be taking much bigger risks that business. If these are easy problems, business and government can come in and solve them.
China has many successful entrepreneurs and business people. I hope that more people of insight will put their talents to work to improve the lives of poor people in China and around the world, and seek solutions for them.
The idea that you encourage companies to take their innovative thinkers and think about the most needy -- even beyond the market opportunities -- that's something that appropriately ought to be done.
We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well.
I'm an investor in a number of biotech companies, partly because of my incredible enthusiasm for the great innovations they will bring.
I've always been interested in science -- one of my favourite books is James Watson's 'Molecular Biology of the Gene.'
Some people, through luck and skill, end up with a lot of assets. If you're good at kicking a ball, writing software, investing in stocks, it pays extremely well.
I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm -- not all -- that religion used to fill.
Software substitution, whether it's for drivers or waiters or nurses -- it's progressing. Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set.
Software substitution, whether it's for drivers or waiters or nurses ... it's progressing. ... Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. ... 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.
Capitalism has shortfalls. It doesn't necessarily take care of the poor, and it underfunds innovation, so we have to offset that.
If people want capital gains taxed more like the highest rate on income, that's a good discussion. Maybe that's the way to help close the deficit.
Headlines, in a way, are what mislead you because bad news is a headline, and gradual improvement is not.
The belief that the world is getting worse, that we can't solve extreme poverty and disease, isn't just mistaken. It is harmful.
Digital technology has several features that can make it much easier for teachers to pay special attention to all their students.
Personally, I'd like to see more of our leaders take a technocratic approach to solving our biggest problems.
The world at large is less inequitable today than at any time in history. Number of people in abject poverty, as a percentage, is at all-time low.
I think the thing we see is that as people are using video games more, they tend to watch passive TV a bit less. And so using the PC for the Internet, playing video games, is starting to cut into the rather unbelievable amount of time people spend watching TV.
Oh, I think there are a lot of people who would be buying and selling online today that go up there and they get the information, but then when it comes time to type in their credit card they think twice because they're not sure about how that might get out and what that might mean for them.
Although I don't have a prescription for what others should do, I know I have been very fortunate and feel a responsibility to give back to society in a very significant way.
Innovations that are guided by smallholder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and environment will be necessary to ensure food security in the future.
I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one. And I'm still fanatical, but now I'm a little less fanatical.
There's no magic line between an application and an operating system that some bureaucrat in Washington should draw.
This is a fantastic time to be entering the business world, because business is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50.
Until we're educating every kid in a fantastic way, until every inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do.
Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren't so irritating.
There are people who don't like capitalism, and people who don't like PCs. But there's no-one who likes the PC who doesn't like Microsoft.
I'm sorry that we have to have a Washington presence. We thrived during our first 16 years without any of this. I never made a political visit to Washington and we had no people here. It wasn't on our radar screen. We were just making great software.
Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.
In this business, by the time you realize you're in trouble, it's too late to save yourself. Unless you're running scared all the time, you're gone.
With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to gain market share in what has been dominated by the iPad-type device. But a lot of those users are frustrated. They can't type. They can't create documents.
Eradications are special. Zero is a magic number. You either do what it takes to get to zero and you're glad you did it; or you get close, give up and it goes back to where it was before, in which case you wasted all that credibility, activity, money that could have been applied to other things.
Internet TV and the move to the digital approach is quite revolutionary. TV has historically has been a broadcast medium with everybody picking from a very finite number of channels.
The only thing I understand deeply, because in my teens I was thinking about it, and every year of my life, is software. So I'll never be hands-on on anything except software.
The trouble with energy farming is that the energy isn't always where you want to use it, and it isn't always when you want to use it.
The world has been very careful to pick very few diseases for eradication, because it is very tough.
You know capitalism is this wonderful thing that motivates people, it causes wonderful inventions to be done. But in this area of diseases of the world at large, it's really let us down.
If African farmers can use improved seeds and better practices to grow more crops and get them to market, then millions of families can earn themselves a better living and a better life.
The next time someone tells you we can trim the budget by cutting aid, I hope you will ask whether it will come at the cost of more people dying.
I was lucky to be involved and get to contribute to something that was important, which is empowering people with software.
Security is, I would say, our top priority because for all the exciting things you will be able to do with computers -- organizing your lives, staying in touch with people, being creative -- if we don't solve these security problems, then people will hold back.
At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top -- I'm afraid that's not quite right.
The ideal thing would be to have a 100 percent effective AIDS vaccine. And to have broad usage of that vaccine. That would literally break the epidemic.
When Paul Allen and I started Microsoft over 30 years ago, we had big dreams about software. We had dreams about the impact it could have.
In terms of mathematics textbooks, why can't you have the scale of a national market? Right now, we have a Texas textbook that's different from a California textbook that's different from a Massachusetts textbook. That's very expensive.
The misconception that aid falls straight into the hands of dictators largely stems from the Cold War era.
If you're a person struggling to eat and stay healthy, you might have heard about Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali, but you'll never have heard of Bill Gates.
My mom was on the United Way group that decides how to allocate the money and looks at all the different charities and makes the very hard decisions about where that pool of funds is going to go.
I have a nice office. I have a nice house... So I'm not denying myself some great things. I just don't happen to have expensive hobbies.
When you revolutionize education, you're taking the very mechanism of how people be smarter and do new things, and you're priming the pump for so many incredible things.
I remember thinking quite logically that I didn't want to spoil my children with wealth and so that I would create a foundation, but not knowing exactly what it would focus on.
The nuclear industry has this amazing record, even equipment from generations one and two. But nuclear mishaps tend to come in these big events -- Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and now Fukushima -- so it's more visible.
In ninth grade, I came up with a new form of rebellion. I hadn't been getting good grades, but I decided to get all A's without taking a book home. I didn't go to math class, because I knew enough and had read ahead, and I placed within the top 10 people in the nation on an aptitude exam.
Governments will always play a huge part in solving big problems. They set public policy and are uniquely able to provide the resources to make sure solutions reach everyone who needs them. They also fund basic research, which is a crucial component of the innovation that improves life for everyone.
Fortunately for India, it has got a growing economy. If it is doing the right things with taxation and focusing on the right areas for human development, it is going to have no problem, over a period of time, taking care of its own needs.
Helping convene global stakeholders to establish a set of measurable, actionable and consensus-built goals focused on extreme poverty is invaluable.
Being flooded with information doesn't mean we have the right information or that we're in touch with the right people.
The Gates Foundation has learned that two questions can predict how much kids learn: 'Does your teacher use class time well?' and, 'When you're confused, does your teacher help you get straightened out?'
In almost every area of human endeavor, the practice improves over time. That hasn't been the case for teaching.
Measles will always show you if someone isn't doing a good job on vaccinations. Kids will start dying of measles.
Considering their impact, you might expect mosquitoes to get more attention than they do. Sharks kill fewer than a dozen people every year, and in the U.S. they get a week dedicated to them on TV every year.
Whether I'm at the office, at home, or on the road, I always have a stack of books I'm looking forward to reading.
It's a nice reader, but there's nothing on the iPad I look at and say, 'Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.'
The potential financial reward for building the 'next Windows' is so great that there will never be a shortage of new technologies seeking to challenge it.
We are in the throes of a transition where every publication has to think of their digital strategy.
I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.
If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 MPG.
Historically, privacy was almost implicit, because it was hard to find and gather information. But in the digital world, whether it's digital cameras or satellites or just what you click on, we need to have more explicit rules -- not just for governments but for private companies.
The worst pandemic in modern history was the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed tens of millions of people. Today, with how interconnected the world is, it would spread faster.
We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.
Software innovation, like almost every other kind of innovation, requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down and talk with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.
Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity -- the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires.
If you've found some way to educate yourself about engineering, stocks, or whatever it is, good employers will have some type of exam or interview and see a sample of your work.
China is certainly an important player in the global economy, and a widespread AIDS epidemic would threaten that growth.
The most interesting biofuel efforts avoid using land that's expensive and has high opportunity costs. They do this by getting onto other types of land, or taking advantage of byproducts that aren't used in the food chain today, or by intercropping.
Should there be cameras everywhere in outdoor streets? My personal view is having cameras in inner cities is a very good thing. In the case of London, petty crime has gone down. They catch terrorists because of it. And if something really bad happens, most of the time you can figure out who did it.
The way to be successful in the software world is to come up with breakthrough software, and so whether it's Microsoft Office or Windows, its pushing that forward. New ideas, surprising the marketplace, so good engineering and good business are one in the same.
Well I think any author or musician is anxious to have legitimate sales of their products, partly so they're rewarded for their success, partly so they can go on and do new things.
In inner-city, low-income communities of color, there's such a high correlation in terms of educational quality and success.
I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.
Bitcoin is mostly about anonymous transactions, and I don't think over time that's a good way to go. I'm a huge believe in digital currency... but doing it on an anonymous basis I think that leads to some abuses, so I'm not involved in Bitcoin.
You may have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There's another day you might want to know about: Giving Tuesday. The idea is pretty straightforward. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, shoppers take a break from their gift-buying and donate what they can to charity.
Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.
If you have 50 different plug types, appliances wouldn't be available and would be very expensive. But once an electric outlet becomes standardized, many companies can design appliances, and competition ensues, creating variety and better prices for consumers.
Certainly I'll never be able to put myself in the situation that people growing up in the less developed countries are in. I've gotten a bit of a sense of it by being out there and meeting people and talking with them.
If you go back to 1800, everybody was poor. I mean everybody. The Industrial Revolution kicked in, and a lot of countries benefited, but by no means everyone.
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
Climate change is a terrible problem, and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority.
I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.
Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
Success is a miserable teacher. It tempts intelligent people to believe they cannot lose. And it is an unreliable guide to the future.
Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don't think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.
Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.