Bill and Melinda Gates answer 10 tough questions in annual letter

The philanthropists open up about their annual letter in which they tackle answering some of the toughest questions people ask them.
6:05 | 02/13/18

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Transcript for Bill and Melinda Gates answer 10 tough questions in annual letter
power couple, bill and Melinda Gates. Their Gates foundation. Over $40 billion worth of grants. It's tackled some the toughest problems in the world and now answering some of your questions. It's their tenth annual letter. Welcome back. Thanks for having us again. I can't believe it's been ten years. Annual letter. You always do something different every year with this. This one you said you're going to answer ten tough questions from people. Why did you decide to do that? Well, we thought, you know, on this tenth anniversary we get asked these tough questions and we are super ambitious for the world. I mean weigh want more children to survive and thrive but these kind of questions pressure test for us, the work we're doing, pressure test our optimism and I think they help us be more transparent and take people on the learning journey we've had during this time. I appreciate both of your optimism and you said, okay, we see the headlines all around the world and you said despite those headlines, bill, that there is much to be grateful for. There is much to be optimistic about even in this political climate we're in so how are you able to still continue this work. Being objective about the progress the world has made, whether it's less violence in the United States or childhood deaths going down, that allows us to see the exemplars, the heroes, the innovation and actually drive that progress even faster. We work a lot in Africa and even there where it's been toughest, things have improved immensely. You never shy away. You know, in this recent article you were calling out some big tech companies and being critical of them not sharing critical data with police. Explain more behind that. Well, the government plays a very critical role in terms of looking at financial flows and communications and it's now easier to gather information so we're going to have to have a lot of safegarsd but we'll also have to let the government collect taxes, see money laundering and I think we can strike a balance. The absolutists who think it's a surveillance state or blind government is not the right approach. There have been so many questions that people have asked and I really love them all. This one in particular, they said you guys have been married 25 years, okay. And have worked closely together and Andrea asked on Twitter what are your arguments like? How have your tense interactions changed over the years? Well, I think, you know, first of all, we agree on the broad goals of where we're going as a couple with this foundation so that's first and foremost. We always have that in mind. But I don't think either of us is afraid of a little bit of grist in the conversation. That's how you get better and sometimes one of us will learn something first. We'll see it out in the feel in Africa or we'll read something and so we bring that to the conversation but always with that shared goal in mind. That shared goal in mind. Okay, we have some students here, some students who want to ask questions. Nathan has one. He is from information technology high school and what is your question? Where are you? What's your question for Melinda? There you go. My question is for Melinda Gates and I want to ask you, do you think that college or your determination gave you the actual to be where you are today? Oh, thanks for that question, Nathan. I definitely think both my parents instilled the value of going to college in me and my siblings very young and then I think being in college, you know, I had to work really hard at computer science and economics and I think it made me realize though if you work really hard at something and you keep that resilience up, you can achieve anything and so I do think it was that college degree that helped me set me on my way. Education, and, Leslie, I know you have a question for bill. Yes. For Mr. Gates. There is for Mr. Bill Gates. My question is, what advice would you give to our generation today on how to set goals and stay motivated? Well, I hope you can see strong role models and look at how, you know, the miracles of science, the miracles of nonprofit organizations, the frontiers of curing disease, letting people communicate in new ways that you get to drive that to a new level. You know, we don't know where artificial intelligence and genetics and new ways of making energy, how those will shape the world. Even today things like social networking, how do we shape it so it doesn't take us apart from each other? The new generation has a lot of problems to solve and, you know, so I'm excited that you'll step up and see, hey, we solved our generation's problems but we left plenty for to you work on. He does have a way of saying that. I no he we have -- when I look at these young faces here, and something that you have said, me Linda, every time we meet, it's a big world out there and sometimes people think, well, if we're only talking about certain countries or we only talk about this country you said it's and not or. It doesn't have to be one or the other that we should say and when talking about this. Absolutely. And you see this -- if you travel as much as I'm lucky to do, you see the commonality we have as human beings when you see a mom and dad who care as much for that child and want to educate them as much as we do in the United States and for them to grow up not just healthy but to thrive and reach their full potential, those are shared human values. As my momma said we have more in common than not so why not celebrate all those similarities instead of those few differences. Definitely. Thank you. Bill and Melinda gate, thank you very much. We always appreciate and look forward to you being here. We'll be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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