Since the financial collapse in the fall of 2008, we've heard doom and gloomers claim that America's best days are behind her.
Not so said Bill Gates on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday who instead believes, "The digital revolution is just at the beginning" and that "we're going to surprise ourselves" with what we create in the coming decades (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BILL GATES: So the kind of innovation that makes me feel like living conditions for everyone, 10 years from now, 20 years from now will be a lot better, that innovation is happening faster now than ever before.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: When you look at that kind of improvement, do you think that technology companies will be as vibrant and dynamic and, you know, kind of moving the U.S. economy as they were in the '80s and '90s when you were running Microsoft?
GATES: Oh, absolutely. The idea of how do you revolutionize education, we're just at the beginning of that. The progress we're making on a malaria vaccine, that stuff is happening in a fantastic way. The technology companies, you know, speech recognition, visual recognition, that, those tools that empower us, let us collaborate and create, those are improving at an amazing pace.
ZAKARIA: But, you know, there are people like economists Robert Gordon and Tyler Cowen who have written these papers and books that say, look, you're having technological progress, but it's not like it was before. You had kind of seismic changes that were taking place before, and now what you're having are marginal, incremental, and they're not going to have as much impact on GDP, they’re not going to have as much impact on people's lives and their income.
GATES: I believe they are exactly wrong. That is that the opposite is true in a very, very big way. The digital revolution is just at the beginning. How much has it affected education? Not much, for the individual learner a little bit. How much has it allowed scientists to understand immunology, understand how to make vaccines in this magical way? How much has it let us come up with new materials, new catalysts which we need for these energy breakthroughs? All that stuff is really happening right now. And although each of these individual things are very high risk, so I can't say, oh, this guy and this place, but because there are four times as many of those energy innovators, there are 20 times more education innovators, there are, you know, more IQ on very important vaccines and getting them to be cheap.
I see that we're going to surprise ourselves, just like the great work that was done in the '80s is what led to diffusion of technology in the '90s, I see now great work being done in all these innovation sectors. So, you know, there could be no greater contrast than between what I believe and what those people were talking about. And I just don't see how they can keep a straight face. I mean, when you revolutionize education, you're taking the very mechanism of how people be smarter and do new things, and you're priming the pump for so many incredible things. And, you know, that over the next decade at all levels in all countries, that's going to change quite dramatically.
From someone who lives on the outskirts of Silicon Valley, I couldn't agree more.
Regardless of what the nattering nabobs of negativism say, we ain't seen nothing yet.
This is especially true when it comes to energy technology.
If government would get out of the way, America really could become the largest producer of energy on the planet declaring its independence from foreign producers and setting off an economic boom greater than what we saw in the '90s.
Hang in there, America. Our best days are yet to come.