I don’t often talk about the philanthropic efforts of tech types on here, because honestly, they’re often nakedly self-serving. A web guy like Mark Zuckerberg dumping a few million dollars into getting people in the middle of nowhere the Internet isn’t philanthropy; it’s infrastructure investment. And there’s a tech giant who wishes they’d focus on, oh, say, child survival rates.
Bill Gates, not exactly an oblique guy, is pretty blunt about what he thinks, actually. And this is blunt even for him:
“The world is not flat and PCs are not, in the hierarchy of human needs, in the first five rungs. We need children not to die, we need people to have an opportunity to get a good education.”
I should note I’m only picking on Zuckerberg because he’s so naked about his political expediency; it’s the same “charitable” mindset that has him teaming up with homophobes so he doesn’t have to hire those expensive American programmers. But the truth is that the same is true of most efforts by tech companies to be “charitable”; it’s not like Google isn’t going to benefit greatly from those Internet blimps it’s developing.
That said, Gates has a point. Google really should be called out on the carpet because they’re spending billions of dollars on crap like Google Glass. Then again, they are getting into biotech, so maybe Google Malaria isn’t so far away.
(Image courtesy ToddABishop on Flickr)