Bill and Melinda Gates on nine things that surprised them

Philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates (R) and his wife Melinda laugh as they listen to the speech by French President Francois Hollande, prior to being awarded Commanders of the Legion of Honor at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Zihnioglu/Pool - RC148D8FBA70

In their annual letter to the public about their philanthropic work, Bill and Melinda Gates this year chose to focus on nine things that have surprised them.

Their list:

  • Africa is the youngest continent
  • At-home DNA tests can find serial killers—and could also help prevent premature birth
  • The world will build an entire New York City every month for 40 years
  • Data can be sexist
  • You can learn a lot about processing your anger from teenage boys
  • There’s a nationalist case for globalism
  • Toilets haven’t changed in a century
  • Textbooks are becoming obsolete
  • Mobile phones are most powerful in the hands of the world’s poorest women

You can read their explanations in the full letter.

You can also watch a video of Bill Gates explaining to Quartz how he remembers what he reads.

Quartz members have access to other sections of the recent interview with the Microsoft cofounder, including:

If you’re not already a member, you can sign up for a free seven-day trial here.





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