What would Bill Gates do with a $100, and other highlights from his Reddit AMA

Earlier today Microsoft founder and former CEO, Bill Gates, did his second AMA on Reddit. Bill is known nowadays most for his philanthropy, but he was also just named Technology Adviser at Microsoft. This new role will allow him to be more hands-on at the company he started, which he hasn’t done in a long time. He answered questions about all of this during his AMA today.

The video above was put out before the AMA started. Bill answers three common myths about himself, such as what he would do if he found a $100 bill on the street. Reading through an AMA can be difficult, especially if you aren’t familiar with Reddit. For your reading pleasure we have pulled out some of the best questions and answers below. Also, be sure to watch the silly Gates published after the AMA.

Q: Can you describe your new role at Microsoft?

A: I am excited about how the cloud and new devices can help us communicate and collaborate in new ways. The OS won’t just be on one device and the information won’t just be files – it will be your history including being able to review memories of things like kids growing up. I was thrilled Satya asked me to pitch in to make sure Microsoft is ambitious with its innovation. Even in Office there is a lot more than can be done.

Q: What is different about Bill Gates age 20 years and today, except for the time?

A: 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.

Q: If you were a current computer science student what area would you start studying heavily? If you feel like expanding on that, why do you think this area deserves the attention and how do you see it changing the technology game in the next 10 years?

A: The ultimate is computers that learn. So called deep learning which started at Microsoft and is now being used by many researchers looks like a real advance that may finally learn. It has already made a big difference in video and audio recognition – more progress in the last 3 years than ever before.

Q: Mr. Gates, any advice on how entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow should go about balancing business and philanthropy… or do they have to succeed first in order to give later?

A: 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.

Q: How do you feel about the NSA and its oversight of computer usage?

A: 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.

Q: Hey Bill, thank you so much for doing this AMA. I’d just like to know, what is something you enjoy doing that you think no one would expect from you?

A: Playing Bridge is a pretty old fashioned thing in a way that I really like. I was watching my daughter ride horses this weekend and that is also a bit old fashioned but fun. I do the dishes every night – other people volunteer but I like the way I do it.


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