What will 2021 be like: four predictions of Bill Gates
This year is considered by many to be the worst year of their lives due to the global coronavirus pandemic. What happens next is even scarier to imagine. Entrepreneur, billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates shared his vision of what awaits us in 2021. He expressed his assumptions at the GeekWire 2020 online conference dedicated to the future of technology, business, science, healthcare, politics and innovation.
The situation with the pandemic will get worse, but then it will get better
“From now until the end of the year, things are going to get worse,” Gates said when asked about the timing of defeating COVID-19. But after that, according to him, it will become easier: “The good news is that the best therapeutics – primarily based on monoclonal antibodies – will be more accessible by the end of this year or early next.” Several vaccines are also under development, so it is likely that by early next year two or three of them, which are now in the third phase of trials, will be approved.
However, the pandemic will not end until the disease has been eradicated everywhere, Gates warned. “We will not return to normal life until we get rid of this virus throughout the world,” he said. Some countries, such as New Zealand, Australia and South Korea, quickly contained the spread of the virus, but faced new infections “brought” from abroad. “So eradicating [the virus] around the world and active cooperation is what we really need now,” he said.
We will be better prepared to deal with the next pandemic and some of today’s diseases.
Gates says governments around the world are now doing a much better job of responding to pandemics. In addition, the race to eradicate COVID-19 has likely accelerated the development of RNA vaccines. Conventional vaccines work by infecting the recipient with highly weakened or “dead” pathogens to trigger an immune response. RNA vaccines are not whole pathogens, but simply a “template” of them that elicits a similar response from the immune system. RNA vaccines are safer to use, easier to manufacture, and potentially more versatile.
“This is a very promising approach both for reducing the time to create a new vaccine, and in order to get a universal “factory” that would work no matter what disease you are going to fight,” the entrepreneur said. “We want to use this platform for a possible vaccine against HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.”
The biggest climate change challenge will not be cars, but buildings
Most people think of combating climate change in terms of green solutions such as solar or wind power and the widespread use of electric vehicles. And while Gates emphasized his support for these initiatives, he says we face a bigger problem when it comes to cement and steel. “We don’t have a way to produce cement that doesn’t come with significant emissions,” he said.
“Live” concrete and bricks from the sewer: eco-technologies in construction
This means that while changes in people’s behavior to reduce carbon emissions can make a difference, technology remains the only solution. “Without innovation, nothing will work,” the billionaire is sure.
All in all, the world is getting better
Bill Gates is known for his optimism, and he has shown it now.
According to him, in fact, everything is not so bad: slowly but surely, we begin to understand how to treat minorities, women. Cancer deaths are dropping, we are beginning to better understand things like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. There are failures, and the coronavirus pandemic is a prime example of this. But even 100 years ago, the mortality rate for children under the age of five was about 30%. Now there is no place in the world where everything would be so bad. “Progress will continue. So, you know, I’m optimistic,” he concluded.