Bill Gates returned to Reddit for his third ‘AMA’ (that’s ‘ask me anything’ in Internet-lingo) to prove his thoughts and ambitions are as common as, well, the common man.
The billionaire revealed that his biggest regret is never learning a second language and that he’s a fanboy of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
“I feel pretty stupid that I don’t know any foreign languages,” he wrote.
“Mark Zuckerberg amazingly learned Mandarin and did a Q&A with Chinese students – incredible.”
In case you needed proof that the world’s richest man (his personal wealth is estimated at $79 billion) isn’t a self-centred spending machine, when one user asked him what he splurged on, Gates told the eager Reddit-ers that he was “pretty basic when it comes to clothes and food. My big splurge is having a plane to fly around in”.
You can forgive him for owning a private jet given he told the crew that he was in Germany earlier in the week raising $7.5 billion for vaccinations in developing countries.
Gates used the opportunity to plug the annual letter he and his wife Melinda wrote, betting that “the lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history”.
When one user asked him what he thinks has most improved the lives of those in the poorest countries in the last five years, Gates again talked about vaccinations, explaining how growing up healthy is a basic right.
And while Gates’ philanthropic work may have eclipsed his tech persona in the past few years, the Reddit crowd was still keen to know what the Microsoft founder thought was in store for computers over the next 30 years.
“There will be more progress in the next 30 years than ever … once computers/robots get to a level of capability where seeing and moving is easy for them then they will be used very extensively.”
He also revealed that he is concerned about robotic “super intelligence” and working on a “Personal Agent” that remembers everything across all your devices.
Never one to stray too far away from examining humanity as a whole, when one user asked him about research into immortality, Gates was quick to use the question to highlight global health inequalities – but was careful not to offend anyone.
“It seems pretty egocentric while we still have malaria and TB for rich people to fund things so they can live longer. It would be nice to live longer though I admit.”
When asked about a “life lesson you learned the hard way”, Gates gave the unexpected but thoughtful response: “don’t stay up too late even if the book is really exciting. You will regret it in the morning. I am still working on this problem.”
And in case you needed any further proof that Bill Gates, co-founder of one of the most successful technology companies of all time is normal, he said he enjoys sauce on his BBQs but added: “I always spill a bit so I avoid BBQ before TV appearances.”
Oh and he also showed just how geeky he is with a Love Actually-style love letter video to Reddit.
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Read the full AMA here.