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Highlights from Bill Gates QA on Reddit: Apple’s Encryption Fight, Future Technology, and More


was back taking questions from users on the popular “Ask Me Anything” session yesterday. While there were some light-hearted exchanges, he also tackled some of the more serious topics like 's legal standoff with the FBI.

When asked to clarify his position, the founder didn't pick a side and again call for a debate on the matter instead.

“I think there needs to be a discussion about when the government should be able to gather information. What if we had never had wiretapping? Also the government needs to talk openly about safeguards.

Right now a lot of people don't think the government has the right checks to make sure information is only used in criminal situations. So this case will be viewed as the start of a discussion.”

He gave examples of similar discussions being held in France and the UK and hoped that the law would soon be modernized to ensure cooperation between tech companies and governments.

Bill Gates recreated his high school yearbook photo
Bill Gates recreated his high school yearbook photo for Reddit's AMA.


The rest of the Q&A has been grouped into similar topics below.

On Technology and Innovation

Answering a question about Artificial Intelligence, Gates sided with and Stephen King when it comes to the potential danger AI poses without regulation.

“I haven't seen any concrete proposal on how you would do the regulation. I think it is worth discussing because I share the view of Musk and Hawking that when a few people control a platform with extreme intelligence it creates dangers in terms of power and eventually control.”

On the other hand, the philanthropist is excited about the advancement of robotic technology.

“I recently saw a company working on “robotic” surgery where the ability to work at small scales was stunning. The idea that this will make surgeries higher quality, faster and less expensive is pretty exciting.”

He believes that there will be a huge leap in the next decade of “robots that have vision and manipulation as good as humans.”

On a slightly related note, if you're wondering what kind of computer one of the richest men in the world uses, Gates “recently switched to the Surface book.”  

On Microsoft

The software giant surprised many by announcing that its revered database program, SQL Server, will be officially made available on competing platform, specifically Linux operating system by mid-2017.

Gates attributes the strategy change to the current CEO of the company, Satya Nadella.

“I think it shows Satya looking at how the market is changing and being willing to change how things have been done. His embrace of the cloud and mobile including doing software on other people's mobile platforms are also great examples of that.”

On Running for President

The election season is heating up in the U.S., but that's one ring that Gates won't be throwing his hat in.

“I like my current job at the Foundation better than I would being President. Also I wouldn't be good at doing what you need to do to get elected. I thought Michael Bloomberg was thoughtful about why it didn't make sense for him to try and run even though he is a great executive.”

On Retirement

Despite that, we won't be seeing the end of Bill Gates anytime soon, as he wrote how he plans to stick around.

“I love my work. I love meeting the scientists and field workers. I have the flexibility to work less if I wanted to and I do take vacations now. When I was in my 20's I didn't believe in vacation so I have mellowed. I feel super lucky that I can be involved in the Foundation work with Melinda for another 30 years assuming my health holds up.”


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