One-on-One with Bill Gates

GATES: Well I get a lot of time to read for my work the foundation is doing. I'm very interested in the education work there, very interested in the global health programs. They send me over lots of books I read and send back questions about doesn't this mean we can do this that or the other thing. So I would say that after software the thing I spend most time on is the work of the foundation.

JENNINGS: You are famous for your determination that people acquire knowledge and learn more and yet you like everyone else make these extraordinary games now (Gates chuckles). Is gaming both enhancing now and undermining society?

GATES: I think the thing we see is that as people are using video games more, they tend to watch passive TV a bit less. And so using the PC for the Internet, playing video games, is starting to cut into the rather unbelievable amount of time people spend watching TV. The interactive games range quite a bit in terms of how much they enrich you. Certainly your reflexes get quite a good workout there. We've had this "Halo 2" that has been an unbelievable hit, and the new thing we brought to that is that you don't just sit in a room by yourself, you connect over what we call live - so you are talking to your friends, you are meeting people, who are making it more social and I think that will bring it to a lot more people and a lot more age groups.

JENNINGS: Are you nonetheless happiest when you are alone with a book and so you recommend it to other people?

GATES: I spend a lot of time reading. I think getting kids to love reading, any topic is fantastic thing for their future. When I go on vacation I always take way too many books because I am always worried I will run out. That's one of my greatest pleasures.

JENNINGS: And Fresca I am told you always take on vacation. Is that true?

GATES: Oh different diet drinks. Diet Coke, Diet Orange, Diet Fresca -- I like all of those.

JENNINGS: You have been a big advocate of travel. And you have on occasion said that Americans who spent more time traveling in Africa, for one, would learn something. What would we learn?

GATES: Well I think there is a lot of compassion when you see people in a very tough situation. When you see parents dying of AIDS, you see orphans, you see malaria. If you don't see it -- if you are just reading the statistics its hard to relate to and its hard to think of it as something that you need to help change. So actually getting out to India, to Africa, that's critical to me to make sure my foundations is doing effective work and you know renews my commitment to take all the wealth I have and make sure it goes back to causes like world health.

JENNINGS: But you are a very specific example in this case and I will come to that, how do you think the average American would change if he or she traveled more?

GATES: I think they'd vote for Politicians who cared more about the developing world and the tough conditions there. That our aid would be more enlightened and a higher percentage of what we do. I think they would want to get involved themselves in either being a part of a volunteer organization here in the U.S. or even spending some time helping out overseas. I think they would feel a more common bond and realize how privileged they are.

JENNINGS: Is there any part of the world that intimidates you?

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