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Bill Gates On the Past, Future, and Google 154

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 OwnedByTwoCats ( 124103 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:21PM (#16873652)
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • by kz45 ( 175825 ) <> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:11PM (#16874636)
    "Steal from 100 widows, support 1, collect humanitarian award."

    and microsoft steals from
  • Re:FP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spectecjr ( 31235 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:16PM (#16874734) Homepage
    Plus, charity is not that great, and it just doesn't work very well.
    Charity alone is not something to praise a guy for.

    That's why he has a foundation, and there are strict rules governing the way that the money is given to 3rd parties. It's run like a business - your charity has to produce results for you to get the money, and to keep getting more, you need to keep producing results. Otherwise, he gives his money to another charity which will do a better job.

    Pretty smart way of handling it actually - which is why Warren Buffet jumped on board too.
  • by xoyoyo ( 949672 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:21PM (#16874816)
    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 shawngarringer ( 906569 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @04:50PM (#16875342)
    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 bogjobber ( 880402 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @05:16PM (#16875820)
    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 shawngarringer ( 906569 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @06:46PM (#16877282)
    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 timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @07:31PM (#16877798)
    .... 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 time and you'll only pay for the OS. his ipinion means fucking NOTHING
  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @09:56PM (#16879242) Homepage
    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're doctors whose true talents lay in other areas, in management and marketing, and they aren't the people you want to turn to when you need serious medical knowledge.
  • Re:Hot Air (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pastis ( 145655 ) on Friday November 17, 2006 @05:58AM (#16881622)
    To win the Lotto is a "single stroke of phenomenal luck".
    To build the company as he did, by outsmarting other competitors like IBM, is not luck. Far from it. He provoked the situation and get the most out of it. []

    As yourself: would you have done the same in the same position?

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.