Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates sounded a bit dark in his predictions for the future of humanity.
Asked for his take on mankind’s future in the face of rapid technological advancement, the billionaire was “very optimistic” while warning that “modernity comes with some risks.”
The cryptic comments made in an interview at a think tank in Sydney, Australia came as Gates continued to promote dangerous ideas like AI “equity” and global population reduction.
“I’m still very optimistic that it’d be much better to be born 20 years from now, 40 years from now, 60 years from now than any time in the past,” Gates told Tom Huddleston Jr. of CNBC earlier this year.
“It’s easy to get a more negative view of some of these trends than is really fair, in my view,” he noted, referring to directions taken in response to things like climate and even the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The amount of innovation that is [for] the improvement overall in the human condition is still going to be dramatic. We will cure obesity, we will cure cancer, we will eradicate polio,” Gates predicted.
Though he admitted innovative technology can be a two-way street, he still touted the benefits.
“The amount of IQ in the world that’s being educated, the quality of the tools we have to drive forward our innovation, whether it’s in health or energy or education, those are fantastic things,” Gates said.
“Zoom out and say, “OK, where were we 300 years ago?” he asked.
“It didn’t matter if you were a king or a pauper. You were subject to huge infant mortality and extremely low levels of literacy. So, the scope of human innovation over time … is a phenomenal story.”
According to data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, “Life expectancy at birth in the United States declined nearly a year from 2020 to 2021,” though a vast improvement from the 1700s when people were not expected to make it past age 40.
“That decline – 77.0 to 76.1 years – took U.S. life expectancy at birth to its lowest level since 1996. The 0.9 year drop in life expectancy in 2021, along with a 1.8 year drop in 2020, was the biggest two-year decline in life expectancy since 1921-1923,” the CDC report added.
Even though Gates’ comments are similar to others like fellow billionaire Charlie Munger, who said last year that people should stop whining because “everybody’s five times better off than they used to be,” he admitted a more ambiguous take on humanity’s future.
“Modernity comes with some risks, as well,” Gates said. “But, overall, I’m incredibly optimistic.”
Gates’ cryptic comments drew some harsh reactions and many social media eye-rolls at the time, with one Reddit user saying, “Another billionaire being ignorant for the consequences of growing economic inequality around the globe, really surprising.”
“I’d say you were probably much better off being born 65 years ago,” said another, while one commented, “Making a ton of money does not make you an authority on everything. He is not the benevolent billionaire he pretends to be and we should stop treating him as such.”
“It would be funny if one of the most powerful ppl in the world and one of the key architects of contemporary American life was like “wow, we really screwed the pooch on this one, glad I am dying in a few years,” shared one commenter.