Bill Gates took an hour or so out of his busy schedule of curing polio, chairing Microsoft and visiting garbage dumps last night to answer questions from users of the social news site Reddit. Redditors displayed their patented mix of respectful inquiry, nerdy bitching and meme-based hilarity in response to Gates' call to Ask Me Anything.
Keen to talk about his work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, his philanthropic organisation, Gates nevertheless answered less pressing queries, including the ultimate hypothetical: would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?
"I'm not sure about the specifics, but in general I like taking on big problems, things like new vaccines, so I guess you could call that a horse-sized duck," Gates wisely proffered, in a video I've embedded below.
Speaking of vaccines, Gates was asked what had been his foundation's greatest achievement, and what was up next. "So far our biggest impact has been getting vaccines for things like diarrhea and pneumonia out which has saved millions of lives," he wrote. "Polio is the first thing to get done since we are close. Within 6 years we will have the last case. After that we will go after malaria and measles."
Given the opportunity to peer into the future of tech, Gates said, "Robots, pervasive screens, speech interaction will all change the way we look at 'computers'. Once seeing, hearing, and reading (including handwriting) work very well you will interact in new ways.
"I am using a Perceptive Pixel display right now -- huge Windows 8 touch whiteboard. These will come down in price over time and be pervasive," he boldly predicted. You can see him using his gigantic touchscreen in the picture above.
The thread generated nearly 28,000 comments.
I'll leave you with a desperate cry for help from the man himself: