Everything is better than it seems: Bill Gates shared his thoughts on the future of humanity

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Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates says he remains “very optimistic” about the future of humanity on Earth, according to CNBC.

Things are better than they seem: Bill Gates shares his thoughts on the future of humanity

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Bill Gates spends a lot of time sounding the alarm about global existential threats like climate change and future pandemics.

But Gates says even with the challenges that current and future generations will face, anyone born in the next few decades will be better off than people born at any previous point in history.

“I remain very optimistic that it would be much better to be born in 20, 40 and 60 years than at any time in the past,” Gates said Jan. 23 in an interview at the Lowy Institute, a think tank in Sydney, Australia.

Gates noted that the world is full of depressing trends, such as the inadequate global response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the failure of governments to meet their stated climate change goals, and the increase in political polarization in the United States.

In October, a Gallup poll showed that only 42% of Americans believe today's youth will have a “higher standard of living” than their parents. That number is 18 percentage points lower than in 2019, according to Gallup, and corresponds to the lowest level of optimism in about three decades based on similar polls in the past.

But pessimists are missing the big picture, as Gates said . “In my opinion, it's easy to get a more negative view of some of these trends than is actually the case,” – he said.

Gates pointed to advances in public health, noting that global under-five mortality rates have halved over the past two decades.

will be significant. We will cure obesity, we will cure cancer, we will eradicate polio,” Gates said.

Gates also praised the potential for cheap and efficient clean energy technologies in recent years, as well as the technological advances that enable educators and healthcare workers to have more coverage worldwide.

“The number of people in the world who are getting an education, the quality of the tools we have to drive our innovation, whether it be in healthcare, energy or education, these are fantastic things,” Gates said.

He added that looking back in history, it becomes clear that the situation is only getting better.

“Zoom out and ask, 'OK, where were we 300 years ago?' Gates asked, noting that the average life expectancy of people has improved significantly over the past three centuries.

In 1700, a person died before reaching the age of 40. Today, life expectancy in the US is 76.1 years.

“Whether you are a king or a beggar, you are subject to enormous infant mortality and extremely low literacy rates,” Gates said. – So the scale of human innovation over time… is a phenomenal story.”

Gates' comments echoed a similar sentiment made last year by fellow billionaire Charlie Munger, who lamented what he thought people today are less happy than in more difficult times.

“Things are five times better than before,” Munger said.

Gates noted that innovation will not necessarily bring positive result: technological and scientific evolution can lead to dangerous advances such as nuclear weapons or bioterrorism.

“Modernity also comes with some risks,” he said. – But overall, I'm incredibly optimistic.”