Software King of the World Sir William Gates III has rubbished claims by Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley’s tech billionaires that the internet will save the world.
While Gates describes himself as a technocrat he does not believe that technology will fix the world’s problems. According to CNBC, the world is a mess of entrenched and interrelated problems that afflict humanity’s most vulnerable.
“I certainly love the IT thing,” Gates said. “But when we want to improve lives, you’ve got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition.”
Gates is flying in the face of those who think that the cure for all humanity’s ills is to get them online. Mark Zuckerberg outlined a plan for getting the world’s unconnected five billion people online, an effort the Facebook boss called “one of the greatest challenges of our generation”.
However, Gates thinks it is a joke. He said it was more important to find a vaccine for malaria.
“Innovation is a good thing. The human condition – put aside bioterrorism and a few footnotes – is improving because of innovation,” he says. But while ”technology’s amazing, it doesn’t get down to the people most in need in anything near the timeframe we should want it to”.
Gates also thinks that the idea of wealthy people saving the world by investing in new manufacturing also does not work.
He said that industries are only valuable to the degree they meet human needs.
“We need children not to die, we need people to have an opportunity to get a good education,” he said.