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Bill Gates On the Past, Future, and Google 154

Posted by Zonk
from the but-google-is-microsoft's-future dept.
editingwhiz writes "eWEEK reports that Bill Gates told PBS talk show host Charlie Rose and a Stanford University audience at TechNet Wednesday that 'We're at the beginning of something important again' in the development of technology — just as in the 1980s with the advent of the PC. He also discussed the growing Microsoft-Google competition, world health issues, how to give lots of money away to the benefit of mankind, and whether he'll return to Harvard to finish his studies." From the article: "On whether there's another idea today that is as powerful as the idea of the personal computer in the 1970s: 'If I knew medicine like I do computers, I would like to be able to control the [human] immune system, to fight against the onset of disease on a world level ... but I think the idea of the PC still would have topped that.'"
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Bill Gates On the Past, Future, and Google

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  • by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:17PM (#16873560)
    If he knew medicine and could control the immune system in the human body as well as he and his company can control computers, just imagine the biological viruses we'd have faced by now. Every day your heart would stop beating for no reason and they'd have to restart it with CPR, but nobody would think that was odd.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Networking PCs was as important, maybe more important, than the notion of the PC itself.

      And we all know how Microsoft led in that area. Their BlackBird networkins service totally dominates... errr..., wait. They were caught totally off guard by the rise of the internet, and the importance of TCP/IP. They did wake up to the threat posed to their business by the web browser, but so late that they had to break the law to fight it off, and then have an election go there way to get away with it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rubberbando (784342)
      Every day your heart would stop beating for no reason and they'd have to restart it with CPR, but nobody would think that was odd.

      Actually, CPR doesn't restart your heart. It keeps the blood circulating through the body until a paramedic can use a defibulator to actually restart it.
      • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:42PM (#16874088) Journal
        When a guy's flat-lining, the most hilarious thing you can do to him is to use the defibulator and the detibulator to remove his leg from the knee down, then attach his feet directly to his femurs. When he revives, he starts walking around like a duck and looking confused. We crazy paramedics just about split a gut laughing every time!
      • by aychamo (932587) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:04PM (#16875576) Homepage
        rubberbando, you are completely wrong. CPR is cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The technique is used if the patient goes into cardiac or pulmonary arrest. It literally starts their heart beating again, or makes them start breathing again. Using a defibrillator on someone in cardiac arrest wont do anything. A defibrillator (as its name implies) is used to revive a person who's heart is in atrial or ventricular fibrillation, which is an erratic pattern of contraction, instead of the normal pattern as observed by ECG. The defibs cause a complete depolarization of hopefully the entire myocardium in an attempt to get it to contract all together again. If the heart isn't beating at all, the defibs won't do anything.
      • by s20451 (410424) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:10PM (#16875684) Journal
        It keeps the blood circulating through the body until a paramedic can use a defibulator to actually restart it.

        That is not correct. A defibrillator is useless on a person whose heart has stopped. It is used when the heart goes into "fibrillation", which is an uncoordinated sequence of heart muscle contractions that result in no net blood flow. Since fibrillation almost never resolves itself, left untreated it will cause death within minutes.

        In fact the defibrillator works by applying an electrical shock which stops the heart -- thus ending the fibrillation. The hope is that the heart's normal rhythm will start again immediately thereafter.

        In CPR, the idea is to maintain blood flow and oxygen in the lungs until (hopefully) the heart starts again on its own. This is why CPR has such a low success rate (5-10%), although still much better than the zero per cent success rate of doing nothing.

        Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. (Although I have a PhD, so technically ...)
      • by tuzo (928271)
        Actually, a defibrillator typically doesn't restart your heart, it stops it from fibrillating. :)

        i.e. The electrical current stops the heart so that the normal electrical activity can (hopefully) resume.

    • by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:32PM (#16873896)
      Hey, quick, someone check on Charlie. Looks like he has the 'Blue Face of Death' again.
    • Zombies. (Score:3, Funny)

      by khasim (1285)
      Don't forget whole cities converted to zombie'ism. Crawling around, slower every day.

      "Brains! Brains!"

      "Refinance your home. Low rates. Buy herbal viagra!"

      "Brains!"

      "Teenage sluts want to gamble with you! Brains! Brains!"

      "Brains! Protect yourself from zombie attack! Drink Zombie-B-Gone soda today! Guaranteed not to turn you into a zombie! Brains! \/14gra!"
    • I'd be happier if (Score:2, Interesting)

      by harrythefish (1028136)
      I'd be happier to let an open source group develop medical software with clinic and hospital distributed databases where clinicians could be sure any data submitted to government would be entirely anonymised. I shudder to think of how the NPfIT in the UK will end up. Still, there are other countries to go and work in. IAAD in the UK
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by heroofhyr (777687)
      Welcome to the Microsoft Emergency Room. No doctors are currently available, but please wait in the patient service lobby for an additional $1.75 per minute. If you need anything, feel free to ask the giant, talking paperclip at reception. Thank you for choosing Microsoft Emergency Room. Our motto is: Where Do You Want to Die Today?
    • by dangitman (862676)
      Hi, it looks like you're having a near-death experience. Would you like me to help you with that?
  • ...and manipulated our immune system to be as tough and secure as his systems, the human race would've died out by now.
  • From the article: "On whether there's another idea today that is as powerful as the idea of the personal computer in the 1970s: 'If I knew medicine like I do computers, I would like to be able to control the [human] immune system, to fight against the onset of disease on a world level"

    Think of what would have happened if he did. Norton sucks enough on a $500 piece of (comparatively) disposable hardware, just think on a one-of-a-kind human body.
    • by Arker (91948) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:33PM (#16873918) Homepage
      Bill doesn't know personal computers any better than the average hospital administrator knows the human immune system. And I'd bet you that when someone does make the next breakthrough in understanding and controlling the human immune system, that someone will not be a hospital administrator. I'd also bet that at least one hospital administrator will believe he did it though.
      • by bogjobber (880402)
        Bill doesn't know personal computers any better than the average hospital administrator knows the human immune system.

        Wanna share your thoughts on how you came to this conclusion? It seems pretty ridiculous to me. There are many things you can say about Bill Gates, but claiming that he is simply a management type that doesn't know anything about how computers work is definitely not one of them.

        • I don't think it's any less ridiculous than claiming he's some kind of technical genius. If he actually did know something about technology, then maybe at least one of his huge claims about technology in the past decade might have been correct.

          I have no doubts that billg is a shrewd and ruthless businessman, but I have plenty of doubts that he's done anything technical since Microsoft Basic 1.0.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by bogjobber (880402)
            I never said he was a technical genius. What the original poster was saying is that Bill Gates doesn't understand computers. Maybe he hasn't done any real hacking in a while, but claiming that he is just an administrator who makes grand claims about computers but doesn't know very much about the actual concepts is ridiculous.
            • by dangitman (862676)
              No, you totally missed the point. He was likened to a hospital administrator. That doesn't mean that a hospital administrator doesn't know anything about medicine - in fact, they most likely do. But Bill has a similar level of insightful knowledge as a hospital administrator does compared to a brilliant medical researcher.
          • by a.d.trick (894813)
            I think geeks tend to (incorrectly) make the assumption that if someone speakes and acts like a businessman, they aren't be technically apt. Often it's true, however, not nessicarily. People like Gates are almost always speaking to a less knowledge able audience that us. They are smart enough to know that and craft their words and half-truths to take advantage of the audience's ignorace. (This is not unique to the computer field by any means). I don't know how smart the guy actually is (I wouldn't say a gen
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Arker (91948)
              I'm sure he's a very smart guy - but his smarts have been focused on marketing and management, all along. He's never made any notable technical contribution to anything - this doesn't mean he's a technical know-nothing, by any means, I'm sure in comparison to Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy he could be called a computer genius. But I think the analogy to a hospital administrator is apt. Hospital administrators are usually doctors, and they do know more about medicine than the average patient for certain - but they'
        • Wanna share your thoughts on how you came to this conclusion? It seems pretty ridiculous to me. There are many things you can say about Bill Gates, but claiming that he is simply a management type that doesn't know anything about how computers work is definitely not one of them.

          Er, "Bill doesn't know personal computers any better than the average hospital administrator knows the human immune system" does not imply "that he is simply a management type that doesn't know anything about how computers work". Hos

  • With the track record his company has had in protecting his OS from viruses, I'm *GLAD* he's not in healthcare. ;)
  • then maybe windows wouldn't be the best way to transport disease from one machine to another!
  • Present (Score:5, Funny)

    by spellraiser (764337) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:20PM (#16873628) Journal

    Bill Gates on the Past, Future, and Google

    So he's saying Google is the Present?

    Damn straight ...

  • Hot Air (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:21PM (#16873644)
    'We're at the beginning of something important again'

    His job is to say things like this. He's been saying this for over a decade. It's a lot of hot air.

    The microsoft windows monopoly is becoming less relevant with each new free web-based software application/service that comes out, be it Google, YouTube, Flickr, Writely, etc. And all of those run fine on Linux.

    • Re:Hot Air (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WeAreAllDoomed (943903) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:31PM (#16873868)
      His job is to say things like this. He's been saying this for over a decade. It's a lot of hot air.

      his job is to continue to leverage his single stroke of phenomenal luck - being at the right place at the right time a few decades ago - to sustain the ongoing illusion to the unwashed masses that he is some kind of unparalleled genius, and by extension, that microsoft is the beginning and end of computing.

    • by Lando (9348)
      Just a brief note. Flash does not work in a 64 bit elf environment last time I checked. Youtube requires flash to view videos or at least it complains that I don't have a modern version of flash and refuses to run video. So I'd have to say that youtube does not run fine on linux.

      • by Danious (202113)
        Erm, there are 32 bit versions of Linux you know, and there is a simple way to run 32 bit browser plugins in a 64 bit browser, and Flash 9 for Linux is now in public beta, so your point is?

        John.
        • by Lando (9348)
          Nothing really just making a comment. YouTube relies on proprietary code which means that it won't be supported over all versions of Linux.

          As to your points. I run 64 bit linux and though I suppose I could drop back to 32 bit browser in order to use false, the fact is that 64 bit browsers have been around since 2003. Flash is proprietary once flash is available I suppose I would have to stick to 32 bit until all plugins were updated to 64 bit. Extending that concept, I might as well be running windows s
  • This is the original (Score:3, Informative)

    by digitalderbs (718388) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:21PM (#16873650)
    Bill Gates on the Past, Future...

    This is the original article for the dupe [slashdot.org] posted earlier today.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:21PM (#16873668) Homepage Journal
    the movie "Back to School" after reading, "and whether he'll return to Harvard to finish his studies". Replacing Dangerfield with Gates would make for a weird, weird movie.
  • by also-rr (980579) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:23PM (#16873696) Homepage
    The reason I have been feeling as sick as a dog all day today is because my immune system is stressed out about what it might have to face in the future.

    Anyway, I believe that the next big thing will be an expansion of high speed communication to cover most of the human race. Sure, it's pretty obvious... but as I recall so was the idea that the internet would be a world changing phenomenon in 1994 and I have a file that was originally written on a BBC master in 1987 explaining how the computer would be widespread in business and the home.

    Over the next 20 years? Same as the last 20. Continual progress towards more devices that communicate more freely.
  • Come again? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:24PM (#16873726)
    'If I knew medicine like I do computers, I would like to be able to control the [human] immune system, to fight against the onset of disease on a world level ...
    Except for the fact that you wouldn't be able to download your immunizations until Microsoft verified that your genetic code was authentic via Windows Genome Advantage.
    • And any organ transplants would require a new license.
      • by Aqua_boy17 (962670)
        Anyone with Pirate genes will be left out in the cold, and will be comdemned to eventual privation and death. Won't someone please think of the Pirates? We'll never be able to defeat global warming without them.
  • Ya i can see it now, Windows Vista Alive! Runs on your unused brain! May Suffer From random crashes, and virii
  • If I knew medicine like I do computers, I would like to be able to control the [human] immune system

    • Everone who didn't pay MS on a periodic basis would be die.
    • The Bush administration would step into any medical malpractice suit and claim executive privilege to nullify the suit.
    • Sharing tips about how to stay healthy would be legislated as "piracy", and would be punishable by prison time and/or heavy fines.
    • We'd require special permission to learn about how our bodies worked. Medical schools w
  • by entropy42 (109731) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:35PM (#16873966) Homepage
    When you are evaluating bill gates's prognostication ability, do not forget to consider this prediction [bbc.co.uk]: in January, Mr Gates predicted that technology would make spam "a thing of the past" within two years.

    Yes, that was January 2004.
    • "There's nobody getting rich (by) writing software"

      "We will never make a 32-bit operating system, but I'll always love IBM."

      "There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed."

      "There are people who don't like capitalism, and people who don't like PCs. But there's no one who likes the PC who doesn't like Microsoft."

      "We've done some good work, but all of these products become obsolete so fast....It will be some finite number of years, and I don't know the n
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Funny, because both my hotmail (Microsoft) and my gmail (Google) accounts get LOTS of spam, but because of technology 99% of it gets filtered out.

      So, in truth technology has made spam a thing of the past.
      • by dangitman (862676)
        So, in truth technology has made spam a thing of the past.

        How can spam be a thing of the past, when there is more of it being sent today than at any time in the past?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Gates was talking about spam from a users point of view not a technical one. Spam, for users, is not a big deal anymore because of how good spam filtering takes care of it. I get MUCH less spam delivered to my inbox (1 or 2) than I did 2 years ago (100+). My spam filter gets over 200 a day still, but it really doesn't impact me at all.
          • by dangitman (862676)
            If that's what he meant, then why didn't he say that? Even if the end user doesn't see it, spam still exists, and still causes problems. Somebody must be seeing it, if spam still exists. I think it's much more important to get rid of the cause of spam than cover up the symptoms.
    • Oddly enough, spam is a thing of the past for me. I use outlook and everything I don't want is shoved into the junk mail folder. Out of 100 emails a day I may get 1 spam message through, and I almost never have a false negative in the junk mail folder.
  • Am I the only one who got a chill down his spine when he referenced being as knowledgeable about the immune system as he was with computers?

    Now I'm not a Microsoft hater and unlike most my first thought wasn't about possible viruses but about DRM.

    Can you imagine a world where MS has copyrights to a healthy immune system? Now you can add in the jokes about viruses... oh and now there are new opportunities for monopoly joke as well.

  • Microsoft would take threaten to take their toys home - as they did with the EU and Korea... That's the great thing about open source, "it" doesn't (can't) throw chairs about, and generally react stupidly to dumb people.
  • by scsirob (246572) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:56PM (#16874372)
    His wish to be able to cure people and eradicate diseases is noble, but saving every sick person will not save the Earth. In fact, it will make the Earth's population grow way out of control.

    So instead of dying from cancer, HIV or bird flu, we'll starve for lack of food and water.

    In other words, dying is a necessary evil fact of life. If we can make it happen without pain and suffering, so much the better. But trying to prolongue it forever is foolish.
    • Longevity research shouldn't be blocked because it can increase the population, but the benefits of that research should be restricted to people willing to make sacrifices in other parts of life. If there were a treatment that could slow the aging process and allow people to live an extra fifty years, anyone choosing to undergo the treatment should be required to forfeit the right to reproduce and should not be permitted the same retirement, social security and other welfare benefits as the naturals would r
  • 'If I knew medicine like I do computers, I would like to be able to control the [human] immune system, to fight against the onset of disease on a world level ... but I think the idea of the PC still would have topped that.'

    Yeah right. If Bill Gates would be in medicine instead of softwares, a bunch of people would just turn blue and then fall dead randomly, Tourette syndrome would be way more common and the children would look exactly like their parents, except random parts of their body would start glowi

  • Obviously I'm only going from secondary sources here, but the quote - "If I knew medicine like I do computers, I would like to be able to control the [human] immune system, to fight against the onset of disease on a world level ... but I think the idea of the PC still would have topped that." - makes it sound awfully like Bill is claiming the PC. Either that's poor editing or severely delusional. Hell, Microsoft was the *second choice* OS vendor for IBM.

    Which makes me wonder, what has Bill invented?
    • by MrCopilot (871878)
      Which makes me wonder, what has Bill invented?

      The worlds largest bank account.

    • by geekoid (135745)
      He has been trying to make it sound like the PC wouldn't exist without him for 3 years. This is no different.

      Visual Basic.
      A lot of the intial Apple application software.
      • by xoyoyo (949672)
        Visual...yes, Basic, no - that belongs to Grace Hopper

        As far as Apple Software goes...

        Excel was a line by line rip of 1-2-3 "Do everything 1-2-3 does and do it better" was the goal
        Word? Too many word processors to list, and the code came from Xerox Parc along with Charles Simonyi
        PowerPoint maybe? Ah, no, that came from a company called Foresight.

        Even DOS itself was a rewrite.

        My point is that Bill isn't an inventor in the Edison mould (not even Edison was, but one sacred cow is enough for one day). He's a sm
    • by ccp (127147)

      Which makes me wonder, what has Bill invented?

      His past. Have you noticed that he's sounding more and more delusional and megalomaniacal every year?
      I guess being always surronded by yes men and lackeys does that to you, but for us spectators is kind of weird to see it happening in real time.

      I'm expectig the persian cat and the monocle anytime soon.

      Cheers,
      CC

  • by darthservo (942083)
    "If I knew medicine like I do computers, I would like to be able to control the [human] immune system, to fight against the onset of disease on a world level" - Bill Gates, Stanford University TechNet Event

    "One day I will be. I'll be the most powerful Jedi ever! I'll even be able to stop people from dying!" - Anakin Skywalker, Attack of the Clones.

    Am I the only one who thought that these two quotes are pretty scarily similar?

  • Anything that comes from Microsoft is now Irrelevant.
    They are now behind the times, and are relying on their soon to be obsolete dominance to push things that are already out there: look at Zune and Windows Leopard, I mean Vista...lol.
    They should change their names to Copy$oft.

    I will give credit to the Xbox, but that wasn't new either it is a copy of unmentioned consoles.
  • William Henry Gates is an anagram of 'Lying weasel. Tar [wikipedia.org] him!"
  • by Duggeek (1015705) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:46PM (#16875264) Homepage Journal

    The tricky part is reading between the lines...

    From TFA:

    [Gates on "powerful ideas"]

    If I knew medicine like I do computers, I would like to be able to control the [human] immune system, to fight against the onset of disease on a world level ... but I think the idea of the PC still would have topped that.

    Translation: "Y'all better be glad I'm just screwing up your PC."

    [Gates on how Live.com competes with Google]

    Competition between our two companies will be good for the whole industry.

    ...until we leverage all the content out of Google with IP lawsuits [slashdot.org].

    [Gates on recent struggles with the EU]

    We have worked out our differences. If they wanted us to leave out some of our components for some reason [cnn.com], we could have delivered a European version of Vista for them. But it turned out that wasn't necessary [cnn.com].

    Interesting that there's no specific mention of what was modified to make the European Edition "unnecessary". It's obvious that Vista is still packing Windows Media Player (component in question) Is this IE/Netscape all over again [wikipedia.org])?

    [Gates on the next 10 years]

    We're on to another wave of innovation; we just need to make sure the United States continues to stay right up there in relation to the rest of the world.

    This is after quoting all the "amazing stuff" that's coming with the Xbox360 [slashdot.org], Zune [slashdot.org] and voice recognition [google.com]. Yes, World, be like the good ol' U.S. of A-holes! Cave-in to an oppression of content not seen since the book burnings of 1938 Germany [wikipedia.org]!

    [Gates on the delays of Vista]

    Yes, it's later than we planned. But we want it to be right. It reminds me of when we released Windows 95 late that year, taking much longer than we planned.

    ...and we all know how "right" Windoze95 turned out to be. (...but it's got a killer version of MS-DOS!)

    [Gates on the exposure of medical research furthered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [gatesfoundation.org]]

    I get a little upset with the media, which will cover a plane crash in India that killed 100 people, but it won't cover the fact that 1,000 times that many died in Africa today from malnutrition or disease.

    Of course! That's why Billy has a problem with the media [cnn.com]. ...or is it another reason [foxnews.com]?

    If Gates did turn out to be a doctor, I'm sure he'd be a plastic surgeon [fxnetworks.com]. If he can't make you well, he can at least make you look good [thinkexist.com].

  • ...Dr. Gates tells his patient "your body is at risk" and recommends his OneCare miracle medicine.
  • So what do we actually care about what he has to say about it? Bill doesn't work for or at MS any more and hasn't really had his head in the company for years. I know because I am a shareholder who is greatly disappointed at their miserable performance.
  • Ummm. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Skiron (735617)
    The only reason he likes [compares] PC's and the human immune system is due to the control to make lots of $$$. His money donated goes to drug manufacturing companies to 'aid' the world health. Unfortunately drug companies are cartels anyway (like big Microsofts), and seeing as he and his family have an interest in/and investment in major drug manufacturing companies, where else is there to give away money to get it back straight in the front door.

    Gates & co do not care less about human welfare or hea
    • by geekoid (135745)
      You might want to look at where his money is going.

      I suspect this is the result of having a child. The first thing any father wants to do is change the world to protect his children.

      If I had a billion dollars, I'd donate money to getting medicine to kids.

      I would not wish I wasn't the worlds richest man, though.

  • "I've been told that Google is the company most like ours. That may be true. Well, we overlap in a lot of areas. We're both software companies, so we're competing on a lot of levels. They hire a lot of smart people, we hire a lot of smart people. Google Earth is fantastic; what they do is free and a huge benefit to all."


    Yes, Google is the company most like Microsoft. Just like Superman is the person most like Bizarro Superman.
  • Sure Bill, got it and thanks for the tip. Now go back to sleep and let reality set in.

    LoB
  • PCs are a bigger deal than health for 6 billion people?

    Everyone else is saying, "Good thing he's not in health, because we'd have all these viruses." I'm wondering how his perspective got so twisted. Which changes people's lives more? Having a PC, or not dying?
  • He could know a lot about computers, but computers are amazingly simple compared to living systems.

    No matter how great genius he could be, the human immune system is more complex than what any single person could study in his/her lifetime.

    Would had he dedicated his life to medicine, he would know far less about the human body than he knows about technology, by several orders of magnitude.
  • .... then i don't know who it could be. gates is scared shitless of google, they threaten his office based control of the OS market. do not be fooled, just because gates is a billionare don't think losing his ill gotten monopoly won't bother him, to guys like this it's all about control and power, money is an after thought. besides, gates has as much insight into the future of computing as my grandmother. he is the guy who considered the internet unimportant, and thinks hardware will be free in 10 years
  • ...he'd still be trying to find a way to factor prime numbers.

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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