- REUTERS/Mike Segar
When Bill Gates talks about world-changing innovation in his latest Gates Notes blog post, he takes a step back in time.
The billionaire philanthropist points to President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 call to put a man on the moon as a shining example of a world leader bringing public and private sectors together for the betterment of society.
“In the face of fear, President Kennedy successfully summoned our country to harness American ingenuity and advance human progress,” Gates writes.
Because of Kennedy’s exhortation, we now have complex weather mapping tools and satellites that give us turn-by-turn directions.
Gates believes it’s imperative that the next president of the United States – and other world leaders – tackle equally important challenges. Here are the four he sees as the highest priorities.
Provide everyone on earth with affordable energy, without contributing to climate change.
- Getty Images/Sean Gallup
Finding alternatives to carbon-emitting fuels is one of the most pressing challenges of the coming decades.
Gates writes that within the next eight years, we could see significant declines in our reliance on such fuels – if resources are devoted to new research and initiatives. A decade from now, we could be using batteries to power our cars and renewable energies like wind and solar to run our towns and cities.
Develop a vaccine for HIV and a cure for neurodegenerative diseases.
- Thomson Reuters
Curing diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, which are both destructive and expensive, would mark an enormous leap forward in scientific achievement. Likewise, science is moving ever closer to eradicating HIV, which is already highly manageable.
“Based on recent progress, I believe world leaders could help make an effective AIDS vaccine a reality within the next decade,” Gates writes. “And with a vaccine, we would be on the path to ending the disease altogether.”
Protect the world from future health epidemics.
- Thomson Reuters
Epidemics stemming from infectious diseases are fast-moving and scary. Science can stop their spread fairly well, but to prevent a large-scale outbreak from occurring in the future, Gates argues that governments need to work closely with private research.
If an outbreak does occur, “we will need to be able to detect it, develop a test for it, and produce cures very quickly,” he writes.
Give every student and teacher new tools so all kids get a world-class education.
Gates strongly supports personalized education as the primary way kids around the world should learn. Technology is finally letting teachers tailor lessons to each student based on their individual needs, so curricula and pedagogy should evolve accordingly.
“The private sector has started work on these ideas,” Gates says, “but funding for government research budgets would boost the market and help identify the most effective approaches, giving teachers and students new tools that empower them to do their best work.”