You all know Bill Gates as the guy who created Microsoft. Sure, he is. But he is much much more than what you know. You might have seen him recently in the news regarding his involvement in fighting chronic diseases. So , let’s talk more about that, and a whole lot of other stuff.
10 things you should know about Bill Gates –
1. He has saved more than 6 million lives –
Bill Gates started giving away his net worth ($79.3 Billion) since 2007 to fight diseases such as measles, yellow fever, Hepatitis B, polio, pneumonia, etc., ! He’s given around $28 billion to tackle the problems through the Gates foundation. The 6 million number will go up to 7.1 million by 2019. And all these lives saved are under the age of 5 !
2. The GAVI alliance –
Bill worked with UNICEF, The World Bank, the UN, and various other groups to form the GAVI alliance – Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. Together, their efforts resulted in the pharmaceutical companies reducing the cost of vaccines significantly. They have reduced the prices of the most needed vaccines by atleast 40%-50%. Some vaccines are now reduced by 99%. Bill has personally given $1 Billion to this alliance. That is a whopping 1/3rd of the funds.
3. The Giving Pledge –
In 2010, Bill, along with Warren Buffet founded The Giving Pledge. It particularly aims at billionaires, and its mission is to make those billionaires sign a pledge which asks them to give away most of their net worth to philanthropic causes. They signed 81 billionaires in 2012, and now they have around 128 billionaires giving away their net worth !
Mark Zuckerberg, Paul Allen, Warren Buffet, George Lucas, and Gates himself are some well known people who have taken the pledge.
4. Turning poop into BioDiesel –
Karthik Chandaran, an environmental engineering professor in Columbia university was awarded a $1.5 million grant by the Gates foundation to work on a sanitation facility that could convert human fecal matter into biodiesel, or methane gas. This will not only help generating more fuel, but also will help in the reduction of the pollution of the local water bodies in which all fecal matter is dumped.
5. Polio eradication –
Polio has been the prime focus of the Gates foundation since a while now. Although polio has been eradicated by 99% , that 1% is still a lot ! Bill has been pouring his time researching about this, and targeting the 3 countries where there are still cases of polio – Africa, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The last polio case they had treated in Africa was almost 7 months ago, which means that their work is directly affecting the decrease in polio victims. He also admits that it has been hard to fight polio in Pakistan, as there is significant interference of the Taliban.
6. The hardest obstacle Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is facing –
I think this would be best understood in Bill’s words –
” We have some tough scientific challenges like an HIV cure.
However the toughest thing is helping teachers learn from the best teachers. There are great teachers and the kids who get them are lucky. We should be able to spread those skills but the current system doesn’t do it very well. ”
7. Bill Gates owns a mere 4% of Microsoft –
After selling around 4.6 million shares, he now owns 330 million shares of Microsoft; which is 3 million shares less than what Steve Ballmer owns. Gates owns 4% of Microsoft, which is worth $13.3 billion. Ofcourse, the bulk of his entire fortune is a separate entity altogether, and that is kept in his private firm – Cascade Investment.
8. What would Bill do if Microsoft hadn’t worked out ?
Again, this is better answered by Bill himself –
“I would probably be a researcher on AI. When I started Microsoft I was worried I would miss the chance to do basic work in that field.”
Although we’ve seen bright minds like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Gates himself worried about artificial intelligence, it would be an interesting scenario to see what Bill would’ve done with it if he started it 40 years ago.
9. Poop water machine –
“I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water.” Bill wrote in gatesnotes after witnessing this ingenious machine that the Gates foundation had invested in.
This was a result of the effort to improve sanitation in poor countries. Clean drinking water and electricity are the products of this amazing machine ! Electricity produced by the plant is used by the plant again, thus eliminating extra energy costs. The excess electricity is given away to the community.
Here’s the video of Bill Gates drinking water which was made by that machine – Bill drinking poop water !
10. The future of computing, and Bill’s role in it –
Bill believes that there will be more progress in the growth of computing than ever in the coming years. Problems like vision and translation will be solved. Robots will be capable of atleast seeing, moving, and understanding appropriately. Once this happens, they will be used widely.
Currently, Bill is working with Microsoft on a personal agent, which will remember everything and help you go back and find things and help you pick what things to pay attention to.
“The idea that you have to find applications and pick them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not the efficient model – the agent will help solve this. It will work across all your devices.” he said.