5 Reddit Revelations From Bill Gates On Technology

Gates On Tech

Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates took to Reddit Wednesday evening, opening up to questions from users on the social networking site.

During the question-and-answer session, Gates revealed his lack of foreign language knowledge, the names of his pets and his philanthropic ideas for making the world a better place.

But the billionaire also tackled questions on the state of technology, answering inquiries about Microsoft's outlook, the state of the Bitcoin and what programming experts can expect in the coming years.

Following are five highlights that Gates mentioned regarding technology during his Reddit discussion.

5. Outlook On Microsoft Windows

Gates predicted that Microsoft Windows, which reached its 30th anniversary this year, will have more "progress in the next 30 years than ever."

"Even in the next 10 [years] problems like vision and speech understanding and translation will be very good," wrote Gates. "Mechanical robot tasks like picking fruit or moving a hospital patient will be solved. Once computers/robots get to a level of capability where seeing and moving is easy for them then they will be used very extensively."

Gates added that he is working with Microsoft on developing a "personal agent" to help users remember and organize various tasks.

"The idea that you have to find applications…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 wrote.

4. Technology's Influence On The Masses

After a user asked if technology would gradually make the masses less intelligent, Gates stressed that he didn't think that would be the case. He said that technology was instead helping to solve complex global issues.

"Technology is not making people less intelligent," he wrote. "If you just look at the complexity people like in entertainment you can see a big change over my lifetime. Technology is letting people get their questions answered better so they stay more curious. It makes it easier to know a lot of topics which turns out to be pretty important to contribute to solving complex problems."

3. Technology As A Connection

After a user questioned what innovation Gates wishes to see in the future, he stressed his hope for technology that would invoke user empathy for citizens in third-world countries.

Gates' response points to his commitment to philanthropy, reflected in his charity service, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"So far we have not been able to use technology to connect people to the needs of the poorest in countries that are far away to tap into their empathy," Gates wrote. "I think this can be done but it needs some missing creativity."

2. Bitcoin An Exciting Technology

After a user asked for his opinion on Bitcoins, Gates called the digital currency an "exciting new technology."

"For our foundation work we are doing digital currency to help the poor get banking services. We don't use bitcoin specifically for two reasons. One is that the poor shouldn't have a currency whose value goes up and down a lot compared to their local currency. Second is that if a mistake is made in who you pay then you need to be able to reverse it so anonymity wouldn't work," he wrote.

"Overall financial transactions will get cheaper using the work we do and Bitcoin related approaches. Making sure that it doesn't help terrorists is a challenge for all new technology," he added.

1. Outlook Of Programming

A user asked if it is safe to choose a career in programming, or if coders below the expert level eventually will be replaced by automation solutions in the coming decade.

Gates said a programming career is "safe for now."

"It is also a lot of fun and helps shape your thinking on all issues to be more logical. There is a prospect for change in this area for the next generation but that is true for most fields and understanding how to program will always be useful," he wrote.