In 2017 speech Bill Gates talks about Artificial Intelligence, Energy and Bioscience

bill gates 2017

Congratulations! You just accomplished something that I was never able to do - earn a college degree.

Between your advisor and every aunt and uncle at your graduation party, I'm sure you're getting a lot of advice. Even with the risk of accumulating, I thought about sharing some thoughts.

New university graduates often ask me for career advice. I was fortunate to be in my 20s when the digital revolution was beginning, and Paul Allen and I had a chance to help shape it. Which explains my lack of a university degree - I left school because we were afraid that the revolution would happen without us. If I were starting today and looking for the same kind of opportunity to make a big impact on the world, I would consider three fields.

bill gates

One is artificial intelligence. We are just beginning to explore all the ways in which people's lives can be more productive and creative.

The second is energy, because making it clean, accessible and reliable will be essential to combat poverty and climate change.

The third is biosciences, which are full of opportunities to help people live longer, healthier lives.

But some things in life are always true, no matter what career you choose. I would have liked to have understood these things better when I left school. On the one hand, intelligence is not as important as I thought it was, and it has many different forms.

In the early days of Microsoft, I believed that if you could write great code, you could also manage people well or lead a marketing team or take on any other task. I was wrong about that. I had to learn to recognize and appreciate people's different talents. The sooner you do this, the richer your life will be.

Another thing that I would have liked to understand much earlier is true inequality. I didn't see it up close until the end of my 30s, when Melinda and I made our first trip to Africa. We were shocked by what we saw. When we came back, we started to learn more. It shook our minds that millions of children were dying from diseases that no one in rich countries even cared about. We thought it was the most unfair thing in the world. We realized that we couldn't wait to get involved - we had to start giving back immediately.

You know a lot more than I did when you were your age. Technology allows you to see problems in ways that my friends and I never did, and enables us to help in ways that we never did. You can start fighting inequality sooner, either in your own community or in a country on the other side of the world.

In the meantime, I encourage you to surround yourself with people who challenge, teach and motivate you to be a better version of yourself. Melinda does this for me, and I'm a better person for that. Like our good friend Warren Buffett, I measure my happiness through the happiness and love I feel for those close to me, and the difference I make in other people's lives.

If I could give each of you a graduation gift, it would be a copy of Steven Pinker's Best Angels of Our Nature. After several years of study, you may not be exactly looking forward to reading a 700-page book. But, please put this on your reading list to read it sometime. It is the most inspiring book I have ever read.

Pinker makes a persuasive argument that the world is getting better - that we are living in the most peaceful moment in human history. This can be hard to believe, especially now. When you tell people that the world is getting better, they often look at you as if you are naive or crazy.

But it's true. And once you understand, you begin to see the world differently. If you think things are getting better, then you want to know what's working, so that you can accelerate progress and spread it to more people and places.

This does not mean that you ignore the serious problems we face. It just means that you believe that they can be resolved, and you are moved to act on that belief.

This is the core of my worldview. It supports me in difficult times and is the reason why I still love my philanthropic work after more than 17 years. I think I can do the same for you.

Good luck to all of you. This is an incredible time to be alive. I hope you make the most of it.

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