Fourth Industrial Revolution

The breakthrough Bill Gates is waiting for

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland January 22, 2016.  REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Microsoft co-founder and richest man in the world Bill Gates replied to a question about the advancement he most wants to see in his lifetime Image: REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Matt Weinberger
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Fourth Industrial Revolution is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Fourth Industrial Revolution

Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and pretty much every other tech company are investing billions into artificial intelligence, making great strides in building smarter software and hardware.

But in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) session, Microsoft co-founder and richest man in the world Bill Gates replied to a question about the advancement he most wants to see in his lifetime by indicating that AI can go further still.

"The big milestone is when computers can read and understand information like humans do. There is a lot of work going on in this field - Google, Microsoft, Facebook, academia," writes Gates. "Right now computers don't know how to represent knowledge so they can't read a text book [sic] and pass a test."

While Microsoft itself has built technology that's actually better than a human stenographer at transcribing a natural conversation, it's a lot harder for the machine to parse what's said and take the appropriate action. It's the kind of limit to understanding that owners of the Amazon Echo or Google Home live with every day.

So while the big tech companies are working on ways for computers to glean the correct action from what they're told, Gates is looking forward to the next step after that. Notably, Gates has expressed a lot of interest in the study of education and learning, for humans as well as for machines.

Meanwhile, the Reddit jokesters are out in force: User "PikachuSquarepants" replied to Gates' assertion that a computer couldn't pass a test with "[today I learned] I'm a computer."

Otherwise, Gates says that he's looking forward to more developments in health and vaccine science.

"We need a vaccine for HIV, Malaria and TB and I hope we have them in the next 10-15 years," Gates writes.

Loading...
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Fourth Industrial RevolutionEmerging Technologies
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

How the role of telecoms is evolving in the Middle East

Bart Valkhof and Omar Adi

February 16, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum