Remarks by Bill Gates
India Institute of Technology 50th Anniversary Celebration
January 17, 2003
BILL GATES: Well, good evening. It's a great honor for me to speak at this jubilee celebration. After all, I'm not 50-years old yet, pretty close, I never graduated from college, yet, although I'm not sure I'll be changing that because I'm a little busy right now, but I get a chance to talk with you about an incredible institution that has really changed the world and has the potential to do even more in the years ahead than it's already done.
Rajat asked me to speak and at first my reaction, "Well, I don't speak at many college events. There's more opportunity than there is time." But when I thought about it and I thought about the great things that people from IIT have done at Microsoft, the role that I think IIT can play inside India in tapping into its potential I decided I'd make a very special exception and come here tonight. (Applause.)
I was careful to do research for this speech so I went up to the Web site -- the IIT Web site -- and sort of browsed around, and after I did that I thought, well, I'll go to the MIT Web site and browse around just to see, you know, these things seem very similar. And on the MIT Web site the hot news was that the coffee house was closing down because people weren't spending enough money there. (Laughter.) On the IIT Bombay site, though, things were far more interesting. They said that they had caught a leopard on the campus recently. (Laughter, applause.) And that's something these U.S. universities just can't offer in terms of an experience. (Laughter.)
Well, it is quite phenomenal to look back at the start of IIT and realize that a young nation was willing to pour very precious resources into creating this institution. Most people back then didn't understand how important science and engineering would be and yet the early leaders who got behind IIT obviously saw through and knew that the long-term investment would have a huge payout.
Prime Minister Nehru described IIT as representing India's urges, India's future in the making and the people here and the other graduates of IIT have made that come true.
The impact, of course, has been worldwide, not just on India and the seven campuses but the research and the incredible talent is having a huge impact.
Just one example of that is the incredible revolution taking place in India where literally hundreds of thousands and in the future millions of jobs will be created by taking the educational focus of the country and applying that computer science and high value service type activities and connecting up with the needs for those capabilities not only in India but around the world. It's amazing to see that happening and I think IIT has had a huge role in providing the education and the vision that's led to that wonderful result.
IIT and Microsoft do have a lot in common, an optimism about the future, a belief that fundamental science will lead to breakthroughs that will let us solve some of the toughest problems that mankind faces, a belief that we can provide better tools than ever before and that we've really just scratched the surface.
Sometimes people say to me, you know, "Haven't you achieved a lot; why don't you retire?" And my simple answer is that the original vision that I had for the personal computer, along with Paul Allen, was a machine that was far more capable, far more straightforward, far more in use by more people than what we have today. And so in some sense if you take a big enough vision, as Microsoft did, you never in your lifetime run out of work to be done to achieve that vision.
IIT has certainly taken on a grand vision. Even as an incredibly world-class institution, it keeps challenging itself to renew itself to move to the forefront. And it's hard to think of anything like IIT anywhere in the world. It is a very unique institution.
Microsoft has given over US$7.5 million of its grants (to IIT), more to any organization except some in the U.S. or in the UK because of what we see going on there. We've hired literally hundreds and hundreds of graduates just in the last two years. Over 50 people have come to Microsoft and we're doing our best to increase the number. (Applause.)
We've also decided one way to increase that number is to have a development center in India, and so we've kicked that off and we're expanding that quite rapidly and that's also become a great thing for our employees who come from India. Many of them have chosen now to go back to India and they can keep their career at Microsoft. In fact, that was a key element in our decision to locate a development center there is that it was a way of retaining incredible talent that wanted to be in India.
We have graduates from all the different IIT schools. I have to say that before tonight's cocktail event I didn't understand there's even competition between the campuses of IIT. (Laughter, applause.) Various ones were saying that they had this person who graduated who worked at Microsoft and this one and so I can say that every single campus, even the newer campuses are well represented.
We are very anxious to see the tradition of academic research that IIT believes in brought to a whole new level. After all, the computer industry is a beneficiary of the kind of partnership that can take place between academia and commercial organizations. Most of the interesting advances in computer science have elements of academic research and elements of commercialization that have come together to build great products. And there's no doubt in our minds that IIT will do more than its share to contribute to this, which is why we sponsor research there and we're very impressed with the things going on.
Despite the distance, we do a lot to host people, have people on sabbaticals at Microsoft, have competitions and encourage our employees also through our matching program to support IIT and all of its different activities.
At one time, people thought the boundary between academia and commercial companies was one that was sacrosanct in a way, that you couldn't collaborate across that boundary and many fields I think have been held back by that belief. The two that have really shown that there is another approach that is far better, the field of computer science and the field of biology, and it's maybe no coincidence that those are the two areas that are changing the world the most, that we can speak about outrageous dreams of how computers will be better and they'll improve life 20 years from now or how medicine through biology will deal with the tough diseases that exist around the world, and it's phenomenal to see the energy, the talent, that's being applied in these areas.
Two of our IIT graduates are now vice presidential level people at Microsoft, which is a group of less than a hundred people, and are making huge contributions. I'll just mention those two by name: Amitabh Srivastava is doing our programming tool work as a distinguished engineer and really incredible breakthroughs. They're helping us in things like security that are so important. Anoop Gupta has worked directly for me for a few years now, is just being promoted to be a vice president to drive our real time communications efforts and, of course, was a professor at Stanford before that and really has a vision that's changing what we're doing in that area. (Applause.)
So the aspirations of Microsoft and IIT are very, very compatible and we think that more collaboration in the future is very, very important.
The vision that we have we've described as the digital decade. What do we mean by that? Well, we mean that in the year 2000 the number of people who really used digital approaches for lots of everyday things was quite small. For word processing or e-mail you could say there was some penetration there but for most tasks -- buying things, taking notes, organizing schedules, dealing with music, dealing with photos, really going through budgeting processes -- most things were not done on a digital basis.
And our belief is that by the end of this decade that will have changed; in fact, they will have changed enough that it will almost be common sense. People will think back and say, "Well, why did we have records that we had to take out of the case and put on the phonograph and treat in this really careful way?" In fact, records, that term itself is obsolete. My daughter, who's six asked me why do they call it the record store. Well, they should call it the CD store. Well, a child born six or seven years from now they won't even have to learn about CDs because things will be done in that purely digital way.
And so this idea that this is a transforming decade in terms of these tools moving into the mainstream it runs a little bit in contrast to a view that there was a lot of promises and those have proven out to be empty hype and empty promises. Certainly in terms of valuations, in terms of timeframes, in terms of the simplicity to get there there was some deep oversimplification. Some people who owned the shares in those companies now appreciate where oversimplification can lead, but, in fact, in terms of what the dreams and aspirations were there most of them were entirely right on.
The idea of being able to buy and sell between any two companies anyplace in the world, you know, that dream is a very interesting dream because it means that the opportunity for someone is more related to their talent, to their education than to where they're located. If somebody is very talented they can offer their services through the Internet with the help of software and digital approaches and be able to apply their talent to problems in different locations. And it's that kind of thinking that makes India a superpower of human talent rather than traditional resource extraction or other ways of measuring the potential of a country.
So the digital decade is something that we're very excited about. It's very transforming. And it requires a bit of patience. It requires laying the infrastructure for these new approaches. It requires simplifying things. Just because these great things work doesn't mean that they'll be used very broadly.
In the debates today about the future, sometimes people get caught up in terms of saying which device will be the winning device. I spoke at the Consumer Electronics Show just a week ago and there the rhetoric, "Was is it the TV or the PC?" Often people say, "Well, no, it's the cell phone, the cell phone is the device. Look at lots of people buy cell phones, don't they?" Well, in fact, it's all these devices working together. If somebody is engaged in a digital lifestyle, they will use devices of all sizes. They will use wall-sized devices that we used to call TVs. They'll use desk-size or tablet size devices we used to call PCs. They'll use pocket size devices that we used to call phones or PDAs or handheld games and yet the device through the magic of hardware and software in devices will be every one of those things.
Just recently at that same CES show we introduced the idea of going even below pocket-sized and this is the idea of going to a wrist-sized device, actually taking something like this, a simple little watch, and making it be one of the devices that can keep you informed of the things that you're interested in.
Now, in this audience I have no fear that I can actually give you the technical specifications of this device and you'll appreciate that. (Laughter, applause.) Just to make a comparison, the original IBM PC that got shipped in 1981, the first machine that ran MS DOS was an 8088 computer running at about 6 megahertz and the base configuration was a 48k machine. It sold for a few thousand dollars and IBM was very conservative; they forecast to sell 60,000 of those the first year. They actually sold a few hundred thousand.
Well, if you look at this watch, this watch has an ARM processor running at 28 megahertz and instead of just having 48k of RAM and 32k of ROM this has 512k of ROM and 384k of RAM.
Not only that, it's about an $8 chip that can receive FM data signals, so-called FM sideband. And so the way it works is you go to a PC screen, you type in the ID of your devices and you indicate what kind of sports scores you care about, what stock prices you care about, what cities you want to know the weather. You point it to your schedule so it will give you the traffic information you care about relative to where you're going and those things -- and it tells time as well. (Laughter.)
And so this idea of this glanceable screen that you can simply just look at the information, it's part of that family of devices and it's not a substitute for a phone or a Tablet PC device or a desktop or a wall-sized device; it's simply something that software will use to present information to you.
And so it's things like this that can come in a fairly natural form factor that I think are why many people are underestimating what happens during this digital decade. During this decade certainly handwriting as a natural input technique, speech as a natural input technique, will become mainstream and we'll just take those for granted.
There is a basic approach in terms of how all these devices find each other and talk to each other called Web services that we're also very optimistic about. It's very state of the art distributing computing work. It's a standardized set of protocols that companies like IBM and Microsoft are working on together. We've committed all our R&D to this approach because we see it as not only the foundation for e-commerce but also solving all the tough manageability problems and data exchange problems that we've had in these systems.
Software systems can be far better. Software systems can be easier to work with so that you don't have to have so many people write glue code into how those work together.
One of the biggest challenges we all face to make the digital decade a reality are the issues around trustworthy computing. After all, the kind of reliability we get out of the water system or electricity system, at least in this country, are good enough that we just take them for granted, and we have to have that same capability into this digital infrastructure.
And there are many tough problems here. Even the very basic things are not there today. People use passwords. Well, passwords are very easy to guess. People use the same password on consumer Web sites they use in their office and it's simply not an adequate way to authenticate people. We'll need to move up to smart cards or biometrics.
Mail protocols: you don't actually know when you get a piece of electronic mail that it really came from the person it purports to. So if somebody spoofs a piece of mail that purports to come from your IT department and they said, you know, please shut off your computer immediately, pay no attention to any messages you get that pretend to come from the IT department because they're just trying to fool you, people would be in a complete state of confusion. And so today's systems were not designed from the bottom up with the key elements that are necessary here.
Now, it's a very solvable problem. Again, deep research coming out of academia will be part of it. It won't be solved overnight. Just like a lot of these tough problems it will take most of this decade to do it, but it's something that absolutely has to be done.
So there's no lack of challenges, challenges of getting broadband out, challenges of getting every industry to see how it takes advantage of these things. Even just thinking about education, I remember speaking with a great Stanford professor about 12 years ago about how the Internet might change things and what would happen and he disagreed with me and so he said, "'Well, I don't even know if Microsoft will be in business ten years from now." And that was fine, but then he stopped and he said, "Well, then again, I don't know what education will look like in ten years either, you know, what will the idea of an expert delivering information and students interacting around that information." Well, in fact, to date education has changed a very modest amount and yet with Tablet PC devices, with online video, certainly technology is going to reach into education. We're just scratching the surface there.
There's certainly an opportunity for IIT, and I expect IIT will seize that to be at the forefront of that and define exactly how that can be used to get great education out to more people and improve the experience, including the experience after you graduate when you want to renew your skills and be kept up to date on the latest things going on. It's possible that over time graduates of IIT will be constantly in touch with IIT not just as a group of alums but also in terms of their ongoing education.
One topic that I know I can speak on in this audience is that if you look back on the success that you've had or the luck you've had, if you look back on how your talent fit in to the talent that today's society demands, if you look at the people who mentored you, I think everyone here can look back and say that they've been very lucky in terms of what has happened to them. And I think for all of us it creates an interesting question of how do we give back, how do we take the responsibility upon us that that imposes.
For myself, in terms of the really outsized luck I've had financially, it's a pretty large responsibility and it's one that I put a lot of energy into thinking about and it's really only in the last five years that in my foundation I've really tried to say how can I give these resources that I'm lucky enough to have back to society in a way that can make an impact.
One of the things that struck me most vividly was that the horizon to think about was not just the United States, not just the richest country in the world. And I was a little bit stunned how much of the philanthropy in the richest country is strictly to the richest country. And certainly the more I learned about health issues, the more I felt like that was something where the awareness of the world, the focus of the world taking its advances and applying those, that, along with the digital decade, would be a major theme of the things that I would try and do my best to give back in.
Just last year late in the year I had an opportunity to make a trip to India and it was a wonderful trip. (Applause.) I had a chance to see partners like Infosys and Mr. Murthy of Infosys is here tonight. (Applause.) And I got a chance to see our development center and look at how rapidly the computer software and engineering and services businesses are developing in India and share my views and understand how Microsoft can help with that more.
But I also got to spend time looking at some of these health issues and in particular the threat of the AIDS epidemic and how that's something that needs more visibility, needs more attention. (Applause.) And so I feel privileged to have been able to hopefully cast a little bit of energy on that, put some resources into it and hopefully stop what could be a very bad development and really slow down India's ability to realize its incredible potential.
So where do we go from here? Well, I think it's quite clear that the theme I will strike tonight is working together: the United States working with India (applause, cheers) -- commercial organizations like Microsoft working with IIT (applause) -- and all of us taking these great advances in science and thinking what we can each do to make sure that not only are these great advances available to the developed countries and the luckiest of us all but to the entirety of humanity. (Applause.)
So with that, let me say I'm very optimistic that we will work together and being here with this incredibly talented group talking about this incredible institution just makes me all the more optimistic about that. Thank you. (Applause.)
RAJAT GUPTA: Well, Bill has kindly agreed to answer a few questions. When we were thinking about the logistics of it we sent out an e-mail yesterday after we knew a little bit of what you were going to talk about and I can tell you that we got dozens of questions. I don't think we have quite time to cover that, nor can we directly invite questions from the audience right now because of the logistics, so I have a few that have been culled out of those lists and I'd like to ask you a few.
I think some of them you addressed and I just wondered if you wanted to highlight a few. The first question was, "As Chief Software Architect of Microsoft what do you see as some of the key technologies that will transform computing as we know it?"
BILL GATES: Yeah, I'm a little bit struck by how many companies or organizations' optimism is not as strong today as it really should be. I mean, after all the key underlying trends, the improvements in the semiconductors, the miracles of the hard disks, the advances in the optic fiber, those are going full speed ahead. There are a few things we don't have. We don't have cheap broadband so we need some breakthroughs there that will come through various wireless techniques, so that's I think very important.
I think that the natural interface things that I highlight where when we first put out the Tablet PC we did these field trials with the tablet and, of course, we were mostly interested in how did people like the note-taking and the handwriting. And so we logged on these tablet machines what did people do with them.
Well, of course, we learned a lot about the handwriting and those other things, but the thing that surprised us was people used them for things like photos and music more than they ever had before. And it wasn't because they had anything to do with the special software but rather when you can hold the device and have two people, say, look at these photos or sit there and just call up the music versus having to go to a place where you have a desk and the one chair there where it's not really set up for multiple people and it's kind of inconvenient, just that form factor alone, which is just at the beginning. It's going to get smaller, lighter and all that really changed how people thought of that device.
And so if you think of wireless in the home, tablet type device, some degree of handwriting and speech capability in that, it just becomes common sense. If you want to shop, yes, that's there, that's something pretty incredible.
So it's the individual things I think we're optimistic on and how they come together.
RAJAT GUPTA: This is a question more in the commercial, and a lot of the entrepreneurs who are here probably face the question and you have faced it a number of times. How do you reconcile software quality with the demand for features and time to market pressures and coming out with something, which is maybe not quite where it should be? How do you reconcile that? (Laughter, applause.)
BILL GATES: Well, let me say this is an area that I'm very proud of what we've done and we need to do more. (Laughter, applause.) One of the things we've put into Windows recently is the ability when a system has a problem to actually log that and send the report over the Internet back to Microsoft. And when we first got that information, you know, which completes the feedback loop, really lets us know what that end user experience is, there are a lot of stunning things in it because the PC ecosystem has been one where the freedom of anybody to add components, you know, somebody does a camera, somebody does a graphics driver, somebody does the system, all those things come together in a very free-form fashion. We don't control or bless those things; we just publish how those extension things are done. And, in fact, we found that many of those things were not coming together in the right way.
And so this idea of testing not just our thing in isolation but testing with all these other things and taking this data of really user experiences and feeding that back to all these different companies so we had a real sense of those things I think that's been a real eye opener for us and for the PC industry in general.
Writing quality code is a very tough thing and yet somebody's commercial reputation really depends on doing that. There are many competitors of Microsoft whose names people may not remember who actually did very good work but it was the quality that held them down. There was on the Macintosh Lotus did kind of an unusual spreadsheet. It wasn't 1, 2, 3 but a special product. What was the name of it? Jazz. And then there was another product called Full Write. And they were both, I remember seeing them and going, "Wow, there are some really good ideas in these things." But it was actually the quality that they had released those products before their time that meant that it was easier to compete with them than it should have been basically. (Laughter.)
So from time to time you get a comeuppance on this and you have to raise the standard to a whole new level. It requires invention. I mean, I remember when I was a computer science student and I was thinking of dropping out, I thought, "Well, we're going to do all these program proofs," and so I have a choice, I can go start a company or I can be involved in this great breakthrough improving programs. Well, they still haven't done that -- (laughter) -- but, in fact, we now feel that that is doable. For programs of size about 200,000 lines of code we have been able to do proofs so we can prove device drivers now, which is reasonably significant and actually has caught an amazing number of things.
There's another thing. This is a little hardcore but when we test Windows we have three weeks worth of tests that if you do a new version of Windows you can run. And so whenever we change Windows we think, "Gee, do you want to run these three weeks of tests." Well, one of these engineers that I mentioned, Amitabh, came up with the idea that when you run the tests you record the entire execution path of every test and when you change Windows you record exactly what changed and so you know precisely, and this requires tens of gigabytes of storage. It's the kind of thing that if you grew up in a world of 32k like me, you think you can't do that. But of course you can do that; I mean, tens of gigabytes, no problem. And so you record all that execution data and so you can immediately know, based on what changes you made, exactly what tests to run and you can force the person who makes those changes literally before they do the check-in that tests have to be run. So you take what is a quality feedback thing that is literally months later and you bring it down literally to the desktop of that person doing the work and it's immediate.
Anyway, it's things like that that are very necessary because of the scale of the software we're dealing with and yet the need for its reliability, the scale is getting bigger and the reliability requirements are getting higher. So we need breakthroughs like that to be able to meet the requirements.
RAJAT GUPTA: Another question I guess for the times right now. "What is your advice to technology startups, which are really struggling to survive today, in terms of both what we have to do to get customers, clients, funding, any advice you have on people who are really struggling with the startups?"
BILL GATES: Well, I think in a way the period of '98 to 2001 distorted some of the key values that are so important in a startup. A startup has to be an organization that is doing something unique, something that really isn't just, say, another Web site but actually there's a barrier to entry because what they've done is hard, it's patentable, it's not something that's that easy to come up with.
And the startup has to keep their costs very low while they get to the point in this incubation mode. And this is a thing that we learned painfully that we need to apply even inside Microsoft. We had a temptation if we loved an idea to give it tons of headcount early on instead of saying, no, all you get is seven or eight people, they can be very elite people, but you have to meet certain milestones before we'll flood you with headcount. So we've ruined a few good things because they tried to do too much and they didn't focus on the part that was hard by giving them too much headcount.
So Microsoft in its own internal incubation has to keep things at the lowest possible cost structure. Then as soon as you get to your feasibility point you pick a few customers that are the acid test that if you get them the world, other customers will go wow. That really happens.
So you don't need a big sales force, you don't need a ton of money to do a whole bunch of marketing and advertising. You take your pilot customers like we did with MS DOS for IBM, and we never ran an ad for it, and you say, "If they'll buy it, hey, that's a pretty good thing." And it forces you to be incredibly honest if those pioneering customers you pick don't have the things.
So anyway I think there's a lot of values that are actually good for long-term health of the company that, yes, they're painful in the short run but in the long run this is an atmosphere where people who can make it through will really be people who deserve the public's capital and I think we will get back on a very positive track.
RAJAT GUPTA: If I may switch topics a little bit and talk a little bit about education and get your views. While IIT has done so well they are still in a sense organized along very traditional boundaries, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, et cetera, et cetera. Many of the breakthroughs you talk about are cross-disciplinary, they are in new fields like bioinformatics, biomedical engineering, so on and so forth. What's your view of the future educational institution? What advice would you have on IITs in terms of how they should architect themselves and conduct research, conduct programs and so on?
BILL GATES: Well, there's one thing that IITs have done that I would never tamper with and that is the merit-based approach that's used. (Applause.) If you get the inputs right it helps a lot with the outputs. (Laughter.)
When I was at Harvard I had this style where I never attended any class, any class that I was signed up for because I was so intimidated by how many smart people were there, I thought, "Well, I have to do something a little bit different."
RAJAT GUPTA: Most of these people here also don't attend any class. (Laughter.)
BILL GATES: But just being around the other students really was a huge part of that learning experience. So I think IIT will always have traditional campuses but I think there will be in terms of the world class lectures and even including some that you benefit from lecturers who are in other locations, there will be a way where that lecture about the state-of-the-art and a subject can be more of a shared thing. The study group thing, yes, you benefit from that being very face to face. So I think there are some things about redesigning the campus.
The thing about these subject discipline boundaries, that is a very good point. You can't let the old taxonomy of the subjects stay intact, at least not if you're in the computer field or in the biology field. And yet at least in U.S. universities tenure tends to keep those boundaries very static and so they have to go around and try and create new departments and things. It's not quite as efficient as it could be.
I think the greatest advances in the next 30 years will be computer scientists looking at biological systems and both understanding biological systems and using lessons from biological systems to implement non-biological systems. And so that, that's a great example of a boundary. In biology for about 15 years it was the physicist coming into the field who did a lot of the good work there.
So there is an interesting question for IT: Should you bring in some of the biology stuff, have joint discipline stuff? I mean, that would be a challenge to do but at least at one campus or something I think there's something to be said for that.
So you do need to renew those things and computer science curriculum always needs to be renewed, although as far as I can tell IT is doing a very, very good job in that respect.
RAJAT GUPTA: You obviously are a great believer in cross-fertilization between institutions like Microsoft and academic institutions. Do you have or have you thought of Microsoft in India or elsewhere plans to collaborate specifically with IITs for research and so on and can you share any ideas with us now?
BILL GATES: Yeah, we have a few particular collaborations related to some very advanced compiler work we're doing. We really need to expand on that because we have so many areas of research that are very interesting to us and having to do with communications, what is the future of communications, that whole area.
We actually are one of the last people who are optimists about artificial intelligence. We still believe in that although it's very much a research kind of thing.
And so given the open-mindedness of the IT campus to do these things that should really give us an opportunity to plan some of these new things.
For a lot of years we wanted universities to work with us essentially on software bugs. There was the question about quality. So when I met with the universities I'd say, "Do you want to work with us on studying our trash, basically," and it didn't appeal academically that much to look at why do people make mistakes, what's this all about, and you have to be scientific about it and really see the nature of the mistakes and very statistical. And so we had to start up a strong group ourselves. We'd like there to be a pure academic pairing on that.
The only two universities outside of the U.S. that we've really gotten things going even in an early stage on this idea of let's pick topics we both care about and we'll put some money in, you put some talent in and we'll both do well with it, are Cambridge in the UK and IIT in India. (Applause.) So we'll push that further.
RAJAT GUPTA: So just switching again a little bit I know you've great interest in India and you've made a number of trips and you've got involved in not only the technology side of it but other aspects of development of India. As we step back and look from far in a sense, what do you think are the real challenges that you see in India and what are the opportunities and what are the possibilities?
BILL GATES: Overall I'd say I'm quite optimistic. The one thing that's striking in terms of a cautionary note is that if you compare China and India, which when I went to India they said, "While you're here don't compare China to India" (laughter) -- so don't tell anyone. (Laughter.) But India certainly because of IIT and the other educational institutions in computer science and services things is way ahead of China, and China is very jealous of that. But if you take the other dimension, which is manufacturing, China is just in a league of its own and it's like no one else is paying attention. I mean, the kind of transport system they're building up and the design system and supply system and communication system and India is going to have to get into that game. You can't stay out of that game. The computer science and services stuff, yes it can generate millions of jobs. India needs hundreds of millions of jobs. (Applause.) And I'm not the expert on why that's not bootstrapping itself in that same way, but for the long run sense that's really got to be looked at to bring that other element in.
RAJAT GUPTA: You have obviously decided to make a commitment in the social sector, especially in health in India. How do you think that one can make sure that those investments are effectively deployed?
BILL GATES: Well, the story in health of being able to give money and know that you're having an impact is an incredibly positive story and so although the general notion of state aid, foreign aid has a bit of a tough reputation based on some cases where things weren't effective.
In the health area we do have miracle things. Vaccines given to children save millions of lives a year, and yet the expense of that vaccine delivery system is very cheap. Per life saved there's nothing like it. There are vaccines that exist that you take for granted that any child would be given in this country that are actually far, far more important to give in India because the conditions we live in here are just in terms of the water supply and things, actually infectious disease doesn't transmit very effectively in this kind of environment. And so it's really awful that these new vaccines aren't being given there.
So when you take something like that, it's very measurable, or if you fund research on these things. Biology has advanced totally funded by rich world diseases, and so the amount of leverage you get when you take that biology of this decade and you say, "Hey, please apply that a little bit to these diseases that are the greatest disease burden in the world," that the market mechanism isn't kind of happening, you can make very fast progress.
And so you do have to be careful. Funding, say, a hospital to do surgeries or something like that per dollar you're giving there is not nearly as effective as dealing with childhood diseases, vaccines and interventions in the really big diseases. So even within the health field we've had to be very selective. (Applause.)
RAJAT GUPTA: I know you have to go so one last question to you, which is of a more personal nature. What really motivates you now and what are your passions going forward?
BILL GATES: Well, I think I am still dreaming of that PC that works very, very well. (Laughter.) Some day I'll use a new Microsoft product and I won't be sending mail out to all the developers saying, "Why did you do this, why did you do this other thing." And we have a lot that we can do better. So that's fun. Every day is fun working with smart people, moving that forward. That's a real passion for me. My family is a real passion for me. And then the foundation, again the smart people I've gotten to work with there, that's a real privilege. Those fields have brilliant people as well and to start to see the impact is really gratifying. (Applause.)
RAJAT GUPTA: I'm sure that we would have loved to go on for a long time but we must conclude. Bill, we have really already intruded a lot on your weekend and time with your family but you really cannot imagine how grateful we are that you have given so generously of your time. (Applause.)
BILL GATES: Thank you.
RAJAT GUPTA: At this point it would be customary for me to present you with a gift, but for a man who needs no introduction and for a man who has everything I could only think of an anecdote.
This is from my own personal experience. I had the privilege of spending a day with Bill on his recent visit to India. Bill landed in India at 6:00 AM, went straight through to late in the night. He announced a $100 million grant to defeat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. There were meetings with the prime minister, the health minister, press conference, roundtable discussions, individual interviews but the very first visit he made, one that he traveled 45 minutes each way for, was to a poor neighborhood, one that the press didn't even cover that well, one that really moved him. The one that was the most important one to him was the visit to the Naz Foundation, a small under-resourced clinic with AIDS patients. (Applause.)
Bill, all of us here, the IIT community, the people of India are indeed fortunate to have you as a friend. (Applause.) And I have used these words before, you've heard it, I'm going to use it again. You have led the way, shown us the light. I'd like to close with an ancient invocation. It says (not translated). There is no sun, there is no moon, there are no stars; nor is there any lightning. So where is this light from? It is your light that leads the way.
Thank you very much, Bill.
BILL GATES: Thank you.
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