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Bill Gates on Reddit: What he thinks of VR, the presidency, and Microsoft's Linux push

Mark Hachman | March 9, 2016
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates takes to Reddit to offer his thoughts in his latest "Ask Me Anything."

Technology we don’t need

What technology scares Bill Gates? Well, the obvious: bioterrorism.

“I am concerned about biological tools that could be used by a bioterrorist. However the same tools can be used for good things as well,” Gates wrote. “Some people think Hoverboards were bad because they caught on fire. I never got to try one.”

AR, VR may converge

The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality device. Microsoft’s HoloLens is an augmented reality device. The HTC Vive leans heavily toward VR, but includes elements of AR. Gates thinks this trend may continue.

“VR is the extreme case of AR when nothing from the real world gets mixed in,” Gates wrote. “It can be tricky if you are walking around that you might run into things." Gates felt a mix of AR and VR might end up making the most sense. "I don’t think these two things will stay as separate as they are now.”

AI regulation is worth discussing

As digital assistants become more aware, should there be some sort of government oversight before it becomes true artificial intelligence? Gates took a diplomatic view:

“I haven’t seen any concrete proposal on how you would do the regulation,” Gates wrote, seeming eager for regulation to keep up with the times. “I think it is worth discussing because I share the view of Musk and Hawking that when a few people control a platform with extreme intelligence it creates dangers in terms of power and eventually control.”

The fate of Age of Empires 

A small group of “redditors” tried to pin down Gates down on whether a new Age of Empires game would ever see the light of day. Given that Gates a) does not work at Microsoft and b) was never really active in game development, his actual influence over this matter is uncertain.

The response from Gates, however, was classic: “I will look into this. How many empires do you need?”


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