aNewDomain.net — What’s the best way to save the world? On the weekend Bill Gates gave a sharply-worded interview to the Financial Times which wrote,
A central part of this new consensus is that the Internet is an inevitable force for social and economic improvement; that connectivity is a social good in itself. It was a view that recently led Mark Zuckerberg to outline a plan for getting the world’s unconnected 5 billion people online, an effort the Facebook boss called ‘one of the greatest challenges of our generation.’ But asked whether giving the planet an Internet connection is more important than finding a vaccination for malaria, the co-founder of Microsoft and the world’s second-richest man does not hide his irritation: ‘As a priority? It’s a joke.’ “
See the full interview in FT. These are sharp comments coming from the head of “the Silicon Valley school of politics — a technocratic, data-based, objective search for solutions to our problems, uncorrupted by vested interests or, when it comes to issues like smoking or soft drinks, our own self-indulgence,” as Crystia Freeland defined in The NYT.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Is Silicon next-gen philanthropy a joke? Are baby boomers playing the role of the elders of Silicon Valley?
There is a clear fault line between the two generations of tech billionaire philanthropists. “Steve Jobs is dead, Bill Gates is in his 50s, the social media entrepreneurs may be younger, but the frameworks within which they operate are established for them by their elders.” says the BBC.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife were the second-biggest charitable donors in the United States last year, appearing only behind billionaire Warren Buffett on a list of the nation’s most-generous philanthropists. Zuckerberg, 27, and Brin, 39, contributed to a trend noted by the Chronicle — and likely spurred by the emergence of the youth-oriented tech field. Three of the year’s top five donors were under 40. The other under-40 donor, No. 3 on the list, was hedge-fund creator John Arnold, who is 38 (and his wife, Laura).
On FB Zuckerberg posted: “Together, we will look for areas in education and health to focus on next. I’m hopeful we’ll be able to have as positive an impact in our next set of projects.” Mr. Zuckerberg posted this on his Facebook page at the time of his December donation. Aside from the donation to the Newark education system and the latest boost to the Silicon Valley fund, Mr. Zuckerberg has used tools other than his deep pockets. In May of last year, Mr. Zuckerberg announced that he integrated a way for Facebook users to publicize their role as organ donors in an effort to connect those in need with people willing to help.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
So why does senior Bill Gates diss the junior Zuckerberg’s baby steps in philanthropy? Gates has a different view on technology and its role. The FT interview said it as much,
Bill Gates describes himself as a technocrat. But he does not believe that technology will save the world. Or, to be more precise, he does not believe it can solve a tangle of entrenched and interrelated problems that afflict humanity’s most vulnerable: the spread of diseases in the developing world and the poverty, lack of opportunity and despair they engender. ‘I certainly love the IT thing,’ he says. ‘But when we want to improve lives, you’ve got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition.’ “
So is it about different world views, a generational difference, ego-driven statements or a philanthropy reality show?
Look at one example — hygiene — and how it will be dealt with by Gates or Zuckerberg. Sanitation is a huge health challenge in the developing world.
Does anyone know of a source code for saving the world? If you do, please send it to us.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m David Michaelis.
Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at DavidMc@aNewDomain.net.