He may have fallen down the pecking order in the billionaires’ list but Bill Gates is still the fifth richest man in the world and a force to reckon with. Gates who has been rather low-key in the last few months has come out and taken a ‘dig’ at two of the world’s richest men — Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Both Musk and Bezos — the richest and second richest men in the world respectively — have been passionately working in space exploration. Bezos went on a flight to space in July this year on a Blue Origin rocket whereas Musk’s SpaceX is really busy in the area as well. In an interview with James Corden, Gates was asked about other billionaires’ interest in space travel and exploration. Gates replied, “Space? We have a lot to do here on Earth”, and also added, “I don’t know – I’ve become obsessed with things like Malaria and HIV and getting rid of those diseases, and I probably bore people at cocktail parties talking about diseases.”
The two of the richest men in the world have been vocal about understanding the criticism of their fascination with space. Bezos soon after this maiden flight into space said that his critics were mostly right. “We have to do both. We have lots of problems here and now on Earth and we need to work on those and we also need to look to the future, we’ve always done that as a species and as a civilization.”
Musk also in a documentary said that, “I think we should spend the vast majority of our resources solving problems on Earth. Like, 99% plus of our economy should be dedicated to solving problems on Earth.” He also said that “But I think maybe something like 1%, or less than 1%, could be applied to extending life beyond Earth.”
Gates has been at the forefront of working in public health care through his foundation, so his comments aren’t really surprising as such.