Bill and Melinda Gates published their annual letter for 2019.
The Gates’ listed their nine biggest surprises of in 2018, which include home DNA-tests catching out serial killers, sexist data, and the fact that toilets remain largely unchanged.
They dedicated the letter to Bill Gates’ Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, who died in October 2018.
Bill and Melinda Gates have released their 2019 annual letter, and its theme is “surprises.”
“How would you describe 2018? Was it what you expected? We’d probably say no,” the letter begins. “From especially devastating natural disasters on the one hand to record numbers of women campaigning for office on the other, 2018 felt to us like a series of surprises.”
The Gates’ go on to say that while some events have been welcome, others have been less pleasant. Here are the nine things that surprised Bill and Melinda this year:
1 . Africa is the youngest continent, with a median age of 18
Bill points out that everywhere else in the world the average age is going up. “This can be either an asset or a source of instability. Melinda and I believe that the right investments will unlock the continent’s enormous potential. Young Africans will shape the future of not only their own communities but the entire world,” writes Bill.
2. At-home DNA tests can find serial killers – and could also help prevent premature birth
Bill referred in particular to the 2018 capture of the Golden State Killer, 33 years after his crimes. The suspected killer was arrested by investigators after a distant relative of his uploaded their DNA to an open-source DNA-sharing website called GEDmatch.
Read more: The suspected Golden State Killer was finally caught because his relative’s DNA was available on a genealogy website
Gates also writes that a large sample provided by 23andMe users gave scientists a clue as to which genes can cause premature labour.
3. We will build an entire New York City every month until 2060.
Gates warns against climate change being exacerbated by electricity usage, manufacturing, and agriculture.
Read more: Bill Gates warns of the dangers of cow farts – and the world should take his words seriously
“It’s not realistic to think that people will simply stop using fertilizer, running cargo ships, building offices, or flying airplanes. Nor is it fair to ask developing countries to curtail their growth for the sake of everyone else,” writes Gates.
“Part of the solution is to invest in innovation in all five sectors so we can do these things without destroying the climate. We need breakthrough inventions in each of the grand challenges.”
4. Data can be sexist
The Gates’ expressed concern about the reams of missing data about women, particularly in developing countries. Not only is missing data a worry, but Melinda writes that the way data is collected about women can stack the odds against them.
Read more: Why it’s totally unsurprising that Amazon’s recruitment AI was biased against women
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Source:: Daily times