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Bill Gates: OS, data to wander between devices

Mark Hachman | Feb. 11, 2014
Bill Gates describes his new role at Microsoft in a Reddit "AMA" covering his thoughts on which computer-science technology will change the world, his new role at Microsoft, and building a better condom.

Gates: Oversight needs to be more open
Gates also weighed in on a number of other topics.

On the NSA and government oversight of computer usage:
"This is a complex issue. Privacy will be increasingly important as cameras and GPS sensors are gathering information to try and be helpful. We need to have trust in the way information is protected and gathered. There is a role for the government to try and stop crime and terrorism but it will have to be more open. I do think terrorism with biological or nuclear weapons is something we want to minimize the chance of."

On balancing business and philanthropy:
Just creating an innovative company is a huge contribution to the world. During my 20's and 30's that was all I focused on. Ideally people can start to mix in some philanthropy like Mark Zuckerberg has early in his career. I have enjoyed talking to some of the Valley entrepreneurs about this and I am impressed and how early they are thinking about giving back — much earlier than I did. 

On his guilty pleasure:
Owning a plane is a guilty pleasure. Warren Buffett called his the Indefensible. I do get to a lot of places for Foundation work I wouldn't be able to go to without it.

On Gates, 20 years ago and now:
20 years ago I would stay in the office for days at a time and not think twice about it — so I had energy and naivete on my side. Now hopefully I am a bit more mellow but with a little extra wisdom.

And, finally, on a design competition to create a better condom:
This is a sensitive topic. The idea was that men don't like the current design so perhaps something they would be more open to would allow for less HIV transmission. We still haven't gotten the results. One grantee is using carbon nanotubes to reduce the thickness.


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