What Would Bill Gates Do If He Had to Start Over?
Posted By Terri Williams on February 20, 2017 at 2:47 pm
While speaking recently at Columbia University, Bill Gates was asked what he would do if he lost everything and had to start over. With a net worth of $75 billion dollars, the Microsoft co-founder tops the Forbes 2016 list of the world’s richest people. And if he hadn’t donated up to $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which focuses on eradicating poverty and improving health and education), he would be even wealthier.
Gates, who had a near-perfect SAT score of 1590 out of 1600 and dropped out of Harvard, told the Columbia audience he would choose to work in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, or the energy sector if he were starting over.
So why are these good career choices for Bill Gates or, for that matter, anyone?
Why artificial intelligence might appeal to Bill Gates
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is an extremely important field that has been gaining great momentum in past years,” according to Andrew J Hacker, cybersecurity expert in residence and a professor at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and CEO of MistIQ Technologies. “AI technology is finding its place in a growing number of industries and applications by allowing machines to sense, understand, and act – and learn, so AI will help accelerate technological change.”
However, Hacker tells GoodCall® that AI presents unique challenges, including the possibility for harm when something goes wrong, in addition to the potential for labor displacement. “We need students and graduates with the right skillsets and ethical disposition to handle these challenges while ensuring AI continues to make a positive impact on humanity.”
At schools like Harrisburg, students have the opportunity to gain the type of hands-on experience needed to prepare for a technologically advanced workforce. “We are working with many AI technologies, from robotics, machine learning, and natural language processing to Smart Data, where each piece of data becomes a digital neuron,” Hacker says.
These various technologies and applications are part of the reason why AI is a good career choice. Howie Choset, a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, tells GoodCall, “AI provides many opportunities to have a positive impact.”
Consumers want more automated tasks, and according to a “hot consumer trends” report by Ericsson, consumers want AI to play a greater role in every area of life. In fact, 35% of advanced internet users stated that at work, they would prefer to have an AI advisor, and 25% would like to have an AI manager.
Choset believes IT will generate a plethora of well-paying and exciting jobs. And he says there is another reason why it’s increasing in popularity. “All of the cool kids are doing it,” Choset says.
Biotechnology as a window to success
While biotechnology is a good bet for employment in the U.S., it’s also one of the largest global employers, according to Dr. Leena Pattarkine, professor of biotechnology at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and director of the Capital Area Biotechnology Partnership.
“Opportunities in the biosciences tend to be particularly good, as the healthcare and life sciences industries have long been important economic drivers in several states,” Pattarkine tells GoodCall®. In just Pennsylvania, she says that bioscience employment is 9% greater than the national average. “The state is considered to have a specialized employment base in two of the five major subsectors—drugs and pharmaceuticals, and also research, testing, and medical labs.”
Pattarkine notes that there are more than 400,000 jobs in life sciences in that state alone. “It is no wonder that biotechnology is called the ‘Science of the Millennium!’”
Some of the jobs in biotechnology include biomedical engineer, biophysicist, biostatistician, biochemist, and microbiologist. “The scientific merits translate very well into workforce needs, due to its inherent ability for innovation and successful commercialization,” Pattarkine says.
The energy option
The energy sector provides a variety of different jobs, and it is a fascinating field for those who like to work in an ever-changing environment, according to Carl Liggio, Ph.D., owner and managing partner of New-York based Pharos Enterprise Intelligence, a software and consulting company focused on the commercial management of power plants.
“The issues I am dealing with today professionally are different than what I was dealing with last year, and if you like change, if you like a dynamic industry, it can be fantastic,” Liggio tells GoodCall®. And depending on the role, he says employers are always gaining new knowledge.
However, not all of the change is good. “The industry is cyclical, and in some sectors, perpetually volatile, so one day you may have a job, and the next day you are out of the job.” Also, depending on the role, he says that employees may need to relocate – and they might not land in a location they would have chosen. “It can take some intestinal fortitude being and surviving in this industry,” Liggio says.
Wind and solar energy are a growing segment, and by 2050, the U.S. Department of Energy projects that there will be 600,000 jobs in clean energy, ranging from scientists and regulators to trade workers and educators. Solar energy is also projected to grow rapidly, and currently, there are more than 40 unique job titles in system design, project development, manufacturing, and installations and operations.
Bill Gates, of course, isn’t likely to lose everything and have to start over. But people, especially young people, still deciding what to pursue can take a big hint from what Bill Gates would do.