Bill Gates was already one of the world’s richest people, the cofounder of Microsoft and architect of our modern computing experience, and a hugely influential philanthropist. This year he gained a new title: soothsayer. In a now famous TED talk back in 2015, Gates warned that the biggest calamity of our time would not be a war, but a virus. He said we weren’t ready for the next epidemic. Turns out he was right.
For this episode of the Get WIRED podcast, WIRED editor at large Steven Levy sat down for an intimate and wide-ranging discussion with Gates about the US response to the coronavirus, its approach to testing, and some of the more promising tracks for vaccine development and therapeutic treatments. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed more than $1 billion to vaccine research, with $100 million earmarked specifically for Covid-19 vaccines. Conspiracy theorists allege Gates is helping to fund vaccines as a means of implanting microchips in people, and Levy had the chance to ask about the anti-science sentiment that researchers and scientists are facing.
Gates also weighed in on Microsoft’s bid for TikTok, Big Tech’s antirust dilemma—which might be sparking some déjà vu for Gates—and how his own life has changed during the pandemic. Less travel, more masks: Bill Gates is just like the rest of us, plus a few billion.
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