NOSTRADAMUS 2.0: Every way Bill Gates predicted the future
BACK in 1999 somebody must have given Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates a crystal ball, with the tech king eerily predicting the future of computing, public health and the environment.
In the book Business @ the Speed of Thought, which was released almost 20 years ago, the billionaire made some scary predictions about the world today that are incredibly accurate.
In recent years he's also made new predictions for the future and it might be a good idea to listen to him.
PREDICTIONS FROM THE PAST
- People will carry small devices
In the 90s Gates predicted the future would include small devices that people carried around with them at all times. He visualised the devices would help us do pretty much anything, including checking flight times or reading the news. He's been proved right, with people now using their smartphones to help with daily tasks.
- Social media will exist
Before the days of Facebook and MySpace, Gates had an inkling there would be a massive website that would connect people all over the world.
"Private websites for your friends and family will be common, allowing you to chat and plan for events," he wrote in his book.
Facebook recently announced it had two billion people signed up and if it were a religion, it would be the second largest in the world after Christianity.
- People will have discussions online
Nowadays if you log on to the internet, there is a forum to discuss pretty much anything.
From crime to health issues to movies, people from around the globe can trade thoughts and opinions through a computer screen.
"Residents of cities and countries will be able to have internet-based discussions concerning issues that affect them, such as local politics, city planning, or safety," Gates predicted.
Social media sites like Reddit, Twitter and Facebook have given people the platform to create different discussion groups.
- Sites will be developed for job seekers
Back in the 90s, phoning a company, dropping in your resume or looking at jobs in a newspaper's classifieds section was the best way to find a career.
But Gates predicted there'd be an easier way in the future, and he wasn't wrong.
"People looking for work will be able to find employment opportunities online by declaring their interests, needs, and specialised skills," he said.
Sites like LinkedIn and Seek are popular avenues for jobseekers to search jobs in their field.
PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
- 33 million people could be wiped out in a year
Earlier this year Gates told a conference in Germany in the next 15 years bioterrorism could wipe out 33 million people in less than a year. It's a terrifying prediction, but Gates said one of the biggest threats to global health was airborne pathogen released by bioterrorists.
The World Economic Forum said it could be in the form of synthetic smallpox or a super-flu.
- Poor countries will not exist
Gates predicts third world countries won't be poor forever. So how does he know?
He's seen former third world countries begin to boom in his lifetime alone.
In a post written on the Gates Foundation website in 2014, Gates said he remembered visiting
Mexico City in 1987 and was surprised by the poverty in the country then.
"There was no running water in most homes, so we saw people trekking long distances by bike or on foot to fill up water jugs. It reminded us of scenes we had seen in rural Africa," he said.
"Today, the city is mind-blowingly different. Its air is as clean as Los Angeles (which isn't great, but certainly an improvement from 1987). There are high-rise buildings, new roads and modern bridges.
"There are still slums and pockets of poverty, but by and large when I visit there now I think, 'wow, most people who live here are middle-class'. What a miracle."
- Jobs will be lost to robots
Gates sees automation stealing jobs from humans over the next 20 years.
Workers in warehouses and factories could be sacked and replaced with robots, creating a loss of millions to employees.
The government may also suffer with less people employed to pay tax.
Gates told Quartz the government would have to introduce an automation tax, charging the robots who do the work to make up for the loss of income tax.
- Polio could be eliminated
Gates claims polio, a virus that may cause paralysis, could be eliminated in just two years.
The World Economic Forum reported in 2016 there were only 37 new cases of polio. In the late 80s there were as many as 400 new cases.
In a post on the Gates Foundation in 2013, he said polio eradication was a top priority for him.
"The global polio community is now finalising a detailed plan that I believe should allow us to finish the job of polo eradication within the next six years," he said.
"The legacy of polio eradication will live beyond stopping a disease that once paralysed over 400,000 children every year."