Bill Gates signs off as guest editor of The Verge
By Bill Gates
Bill Gates was the The Verge's first-ever guest editor this past month, narrating episodes of The Big Future that illustrate the bets he and his wife Melinda are making with their foundation over the next 15 years. It has been an intense and rewarding collaboration: we've produced four independent features examining those bets, and now five episodes of the show. Above, we have Melinda Gates discussing how life for the poor will change in the next 15 years. Think of it as a bonus extra.
As the month comes to a close, it's time to let Bill himself onto our pages for a farewell.
Nilay Patel, Editor-in-chief
Dear Verge readers —
Every year, Melinda and I write an Annual Letter in hopes of helping spark a broader a conversation with the global community about how we can help the poorest in the world. This year in our letter, we made a bet that the next 15 years are going to see the fastest progress for the world’s poor than any time in history.
Melinda and I see amazing progress when we travel — fewer people in poverty, millions of kids surviving past their 5th birthday, and more girls in Africa going to school than ever before. But it is the kind of progress that often goes unreported. Tragedies like natural disasters and terrorism dominate the headlines because they are shocking and immediate. The progress that has saved millions of lives and built economies is slower. It’s person by person. Family by family. Day by day.
The Verge has done a great job examining those deeper stories of progress. The journalists who have been working on this project have looked into the promise of mobile technology for the poorest countries. They have talked to the experts about how we can expect to see fewer people hungry and more people getting a quality education. They have challenged the assumptions in our letter by asking tough questions to people around the world who work on these issues every day. They have done impressive research and, most importantly, have engaged you in this critical work.
And we need you to be engaged. We need people to raise their voices in support of those who cannot. We invite you to sign up here to be a Global Citizen. Learn about the amazing organizations working in the developing world. Volunteer. Donate. Use your voice to let your elected officials know that helping the poorest in the world is in our national interest. It changed my life and it just might change yours.
Bill's first big bet is that mobile banking will change the lives of the poor, by making it easier to save money, spend small amounts, and participate in the economy. The outlook is good, but the challenges might be bigger than expected. Ben Popper investigates.
The second major Gates foundation bet is online learning — specifically, that improvements in mobile software will bring world-class education to millions on phones and tablets. It's coming, but it won't be as easy as it sounds. Adi Robertson takes a look.
The third and most controversial of the bets — Bill believes better seeds can change the lives of millions in Africa, but the GMO debate isn't going away, even in the face of science. Liz Lopatto examines the issues.
The most sprawling of the bets. Bill believes that advances in everything from distribution of medicine to better maternal care will drastically reduce the death rate in countries around the world. Simply organizing this piece was a challenge; many of these ideas will work, and the challenges for others seem daunting. Arielle Duhaime-Ross tackles the story.