Bill Gates’ physical body might reside in the present, but his brain lives in the future. The billionaire philanthropist has made a career out of predicting what will happen in matters of computing, public health, and the environment. He correctly predicted the rise of smart phones and social media, and his latest predictions could be on track, too. Here’s what Gates envisions for the future of our world.
1. Bioterrorism could wipe out 33 million people in less than a year.
In February, Gates remarked at a conference in Munich, Germany that one of the biggest threats to global health is an airborne pathogen deployed by bioterrorists. It could be a synthetic smallpox virus or a super-flu that is far deadlier than normal strains.
2. When it comes to food, Africa will become entirely self-sufficient.
In his 2015 Gates Annual Letter, he made the prediction that Africa’s agriculture industry will increase productivity by 50 percent by 2030. This would make the entire continent entirely self-sufficient.
3. Mobile banking will help the poor transform their lives.
In African countries where cash is hard to come by, people often face the difficult choice of paying for healthcare, food, education, or repairs – all four aren’t always an option. But by 2030, two billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money with their phones.
4. By 2035, there could be almost no poor countries.
In his 2014 Annual Letter, Gates boldly predicted that continued levels of foreign aid could mean there will be almost no more poor countries by 2035. “Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer,” Gates said.
5. By 2030, the world will discover a clean energy breakthrough to power our world.
One of Gates’ more hopeful predictions came in 2016 when he declared that wind, solar, or some other renewable resource will power the majority of the world within the next 15 years.
6. Countless jobs will be lost to automation.
Over the next 20 years, warehouses and factories across the country are poised to replace human workers with automated robots, Gates says. The resultant loss to the labor force could be in the thousands, if not millions, depending on which industries automate jobs the most.
7. The world could eradicate polio by 2019.
By last count in 2016, the world saw just 37 new cases of polio. That’s down from more than 400 in the late 1980s. All told, only a few hundred cases remain around the world, and Gates is hopeful the disease will become the second disease, after smallpox, to disappear for good.
About the Author
This article was first published by the World Economic Forum.