Bill Gates

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Well, Bill Gates is never going to buy a Tesla now

Elon Musk is not one to mince words, but he may have just lost a potential customer because of a cutting tweet.

That customer is renowned big deal Bill Gates, who sat down recently with YouTuber Marques Brownlee, who joined the platform in 2009 and has amassed more than 10 million viewers. Gates and Brownlee have met before, and the idea was to have Gates discuss some of what the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has planned for this year, which marks the 20th anniversary of the organization.

Unsurprisingly, the conversation touched on climate change and in pretty short order sustainable transportation, with Brownlee bringing up Tesla and asking if, when “premium” electric cars grow more affordable, they’ll also become more ubiquitous.

Gates didn’t exactly malign Tesla with his answer, telling Brownlee: “The premium today is there, but over the next decade — except that the [mileage] range will still be a little bit less — that premium will come to zero. [When we look at all the sectors addressing climate change] passenger cars is certainly one of the most hopeful, and Tesla, if you had to name one company that’s help drive that, it’s them.”

What Gates did next, however, did not sit well with Musk, apparently. He expressed excitement about his first new electric car, which happens not to be a Tesla.

Said Gates: “Now all the car companies, including some new ones, are moving super fast to do electric cars. The biggest concern is, will the consumers overcome that range anxiety? I jut got a Porsche Taycan, which is an electric car. I have to say, its a premium price car, but it’s very, very cool. That’s my first electric car and I’m enjoying it a lot.”

Musk felt compelled to weigh in with a  tweet after learning about the exchange.

Specifically, a Twitter account associated with an unofficial Tesla newsletter, tweeted “a lot of people are going to watch the interview and they are going to trust Bill’s word for it and not even consider EVs. Why? Because Bill Gates is a really smart guy!”

To which Musk responded, “My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh.”

My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 18, 2020

It’s funny, because they are both billionaire geniuses, and it’s unexpected.

It’s also nasty enough that you might guess that Gates — a car collector who has said his first splashy purchase after founding Microsoft was a Porsche 911 supercar — won’t be buying a Tesla or talking up the company again any time soon.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says labor should not fear automation

It’s impossible to discuss the seismic shift toward automation without a conversation about job loss. Opponent of these technologies criticize a displacement that could some day result wide scale unemployment among what is often considered “unskilled” roles. Advocates, meanwhile, tend to suggest that reports of that nature tend to be overstated. Workforces shift, as they have done for time time immemorial.

During a conversation at SXSW this week, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered another take entirely.

“We should not be haunted by the specter of being automated out of work,” she said in an answer reported by The Verge. “We should be excited by that. But the reason we’re not excited by it is because we live in a society where if you don’t have a job, you are left to die. And that is, at its core, our problem.”

The response to an audience member’s question is a take that doesn’t too often get repeated in broader conversations about automation. Often times industry spokespeople will discuss technology’s potential to replace jobs that are deemed “dull, dirty and dangerous” — menial tasks that many roboticists will suggest no one really wants in the first place.

This just such a shockingly intelligent thing for any politician to say. https://t.co/QcRJNW12g6

— William Gibson (@GreatDismal) March 10, 2019

Ocasio-Cortez’s answer, on the other other hand, speaks to a viewpoint more in-line with her own Democratic Socialist views. It’s a suggestion that, if harnessed correctly, such technologies could one day liberate workers from a capitalist system where being a worker is inexorably tied to one’s identity and livelihood.

The newly elected Congresswoman elaborated on her position by pointing out the benefits that automation could bring to a society.

“We should be excited about automation, because what it could potentially mean is more time educating ourselves, more time creating art, more time investing in and investigating the sciences, more time focused on invention, more time going to space, more time enjoying the world that we live in,” The Verge quoted Ocasio-Cortez as saying. “Because not all creativity needs to be bonded by wage.”

And Ocasio-Cortez cited Bill Gates’ suggestion (first floated in a presentation on Quartz) that a robot tax might be a way to make that vision real. “What [Gates is] really talking about is taxing corporations,” she reportedly said. “But it’s easier to say: ‘tax a robot.’”

Her response to the automation question has met with applause from some writers who have been notably prescient about the future.

“This [is] just such a shockingly intelligent thing for any politician to say,” novelist William Gibson said via tweet. It is, at very least, a fresh perspective on a well-trod topic and the kind of outlook that could breath some life in a vital conversation about our collective technological future.

Automation will have an unquestionably profound impact on jobs in the coming decades — we’ve already seen much of that already, for roles in places like warehouses. Every study on the subject acknowledges this, with jobs “destroyed” number in the tens of millions and above, while jobs “created” are often times a fraction of that massive number.

The congresswoman’s comments, however, suggest that, independent of those numbers, perhaps we’ve been asking the wrong the question all along.

India has 100 Forbes list billionaires for the first time

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For the first time in three decades of the Forbes World’s Billionaires List, there are over 100 Indian billionaires. Only three countries, U.S., China and Germany, have more. 

India’s rise in the global wealth list is aligned to the country’s burgeoning economy that recently surpassed Britain to become the fifth largest in the world.

Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the youngest Indian on the list with a net worth of $1.3 billion. The 38-year-old’s wealth soared in 2016 along with his company’s valuation.

The Alibaba-backed mobile wallet is now valued at $4.8 billion and boasts of 200 million users. It also made its first international foray last week by launching in Canada.  Read more…

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Bill Gates isn't kidding around when he says bioterrorism could kill '30 million people'

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President Donald Trump may have the nuclear codes, but when it comes to things to be scared about, think biggerAccording to Bill Gates, bioterrorism could be even more deadly.

The Microsoft cofounder warned the world is not paying enough attention to “health security and international security” in some decidedly grim remarks at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, the Guardian reported.

Gates said that a virus, engineered by terrorists to be extra-contagious and deadly, could be devastating. 

“Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year,” he explained. “And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10 to 15 years.” Read more…

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