Bill Gates says giving everyone internet access won’t solve world’s problems


Back in August, Mark Zuckerberg announced an intention to provide Internet access to two thirds of the world that lacks online access. It’s a bold plan, but Bill Gates is not too keen on the idea after he criticized the plan on Friday, November 1. Gates doesn’t see the Internet as a world savior, which is a clear sign that he’s not in agreement with Mark Zuckerberg and his bold plan.

In an interview with the Financial Times, this is what Gates had to say when asked about Zuckerberg’s plan to provide Internet access to two third of the world:

“Take this malaria vaccine, [this] weird thing that I’m thinking of. Hmm, which is more important, connectivity or malaria vaccine? If you think connectivity is the key thing, that’s great. I don’t.

I certainly love the IT thing. But when we want to improve lives, you’ve got to deal with more basic things like child survival, child nutrition.”

Ouch, this is where Zuckerberg should apply cold water to the burned area before it festers.

We have to agree with Bill Gates here, because the Internet is not important if these people won’t survive to use the thing. In these countries, food and disease control is more important than going on Facebook. Fix the most important problems before introducing the Internet, and watch how these people live a happier life.

[via Financial Times]

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  • Seamus McSeamus

    [@Slgray] “Of course, Zuckerberg, I’m sure, has a plan not to provide two thirds of the world’s people with access to more necessary information but to get access to two thirds more people’s personal information to sell to advertisers.”


  • Slgray

    We can say that about everything that is an ‘improvement.’ We could say why put money into schools when there are people dying of hunger and curable diseases. Many aren’t going to go for that. Many will say let’s work on both. What might improve many people’s lives immensely might do almost nothing, at least nothing directly, to other people’s live.

    I do believe improved internet access can indirectly help some of these world’s problems (as long as not everyone is playing facebook games all day long.) I do believe improved access to the internet is much improved access to information especially in this world where tangible sources of information seem to be slowly disappearing. Example, if you’re having more and more trouble getting your hands on a hard copy of a newspaper bc many are becoming digitized, then those without sufficient internet access are left with difficulty in getting sufficient information on issues such as how many are being affected by Malaria and hunger. Those people should have easier access to the internet where much of that information lies.

    As far as Malaria, hunger, and other world ills go, the internet does give a lot more people much improved ability to participate in improving those things through online petitions, discussions, research of appropriate organizations to donate to or to volunteer with, politicians open to their causes, and tons of other info related to whatever cause they might be interested in (in my case so many my brain wants to explode sometimes.)
    Now if Zuckerberg goes to a village where a large portion of the people are suffering from hunger and malaria, or technophobia for that matter, and offers them a computer with internet access instead of food or medicine, then that is kind of wack, and he does need to get a clue.

    Of course, Zuckerberg, I’m sure, has a plan not to provide two thirds of the world’s people with access to more necessary information but to get access to two thirds more people’s personal information to sell to advertisers.

  • Someguy

    Not only is Gates right, Zuckerberg thinks the internet of everyone here is as good as what he has. Most people living around Silicon Valley pay around $25-50 for a maximum 3 MB connection, unless they go with a cable company that spies, inherently slow with a great number of users, and data caps ‘cough’ Comcast ‘cough’.

  • Bub

    If improved online access spurs economic development and/or improves distribution of essentials such as food and vaccines, then the two are not necessarily at cross-purposes.

    On the other hand, if additional access accomplishes nothing more than allowing impoverished Africans to follow my Twitter feed, that’s pretty useless.