Whether it’s the environment or medical costs, all of those, I think innovation will be what gets us out of the problem. At the turn of the century, around 1900, people were projecting how much horse manure there’d be and that our cities would just be inundated. Well, of course, the car solved that problem. It introduced some new challenges like, okay, where’s the oil going to come from. But it’s always innovation that gets us out of just straight-line thinking of problems look like. So I have very little doubt that in the next 20 years cheaper, friendly ways of generating energy will come along and that will avoid a big problem and also let us live better lifestyles. Clearly in health we need big breakthroughs for the big diseases. The diseases in this country and the diseases elsewhere. I think the world is educating more people. We’ve got better collaboration. So I’d be optimistic that the right things will come, but it’s a long list of problems, and the only reason I feel good about them is that innovation will be able to surprise us with solutions that aren’t just zero-sum trade-offs, but rather take us into a whole new way of looking at things.
Bill Gates: How innovations impact the world
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