Bill Gates says the pace of innovation is as fast as ever

Bill Gates discusses the pace of technological innovation and dramatic improvements in global health in a sit-down interview with CBC's chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge.

Philantropist says technology is starting to outstrip what was imaginable in his youth

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Bill Gates appeared at a roundtable discussion on maternal, newborn and child health in Ottawa on Wednesday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates says the pace of technological innovation is as fast as ever and shows no signs of slowing down.

"We're finally at the point where, in a few areas, it's starting to outstrip what was even imaginable in my youth," Gates told CBC’s chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge in a sit-down interview Wednesday.

Gates predicts a future where people will work seamlessly between devices through cloud-based computing: "Its impact on how we bank, how we communicate, how we entertain ourselves — we are just at the beginning of that," he said in the interview, which airs Saturday on Mansbridge One on One. 

Computing will continue to expand to different devices and will use more natural interfaces, Gates said. “Speech is getting really very good, handwriting recognition is very good,” he said. "It will be this personal agent that's very, very powerful."

Improving global health

Gates was in Ottawa on Wednesday for a series of meetings to discuss his foundation’s efforts to improve health in the developing world.

Gates launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the year 2000, and he has laid out an ambitious plan for the organization’s next 15 years.

“There's six million kids a year that are still dying. It was 12 million back in 1990 so we've cut it in half,” he said. “Our goal over the next 15 years is to get it down to three million."

While in Ottawa, Gates met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss Canada’s efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health around the world. Harper and Gates discussed these issues in a roundtable with international aid organizations.

Gates also met with Gov. Gen. David Johnston, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau at separate events in Ottawa.

Mansbridge One on One airs on CBC News Network Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. ET and on CBC-TV Sundays at 1 p.m.