Bill Gates is once again speaking out against the internet-first approach many tech leaders have taken to philanthropy. “As a priority? It’s a joke,” Gates tells the Financial Times, when asked about how Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to bring the whole world onlinecompared to malaria research. “Hmm, which is more important, connectivity or malaria vaccine? If you think connectivity is the key thing, that’s great. I don’t.” Though Gates still serves as Microsoft’s chairman, most of his focus these days is in philanthropy through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, addressing quality of life issues including eradicating diseases and preventing childhood deaths.
“I certainly love the IT thing,” Gates tells FT. “But when we want to improve lives, you’ve got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition.”
Gates has previously criticized Google’s Project Loon — which plans to use giant balloons to bring internet connections to developing countries — saying it wouldn’t do much good if you were dying of malaria. While Gates’ goal used to be seeing the proliferation of the PC, nowadays such things are far from a priority.
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