Bill Gates unleashes mosquito's on TED crowd

Every year, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives. Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman, who retired last year to devote himself into the Bill & Melinda Foundation, was invited to speak at TED Conference this year devoted to "Great Unveilings."

Gates Foundation has been recently working on ending Malaria and has spent millions fighting the disease. Malaria is a dreadful disease affecting only poor countries and it looks Bill Gates wanted everybody to have a feel of it at the TED conference!

Bill Gates let the mosquitoes loose on his audience at his TED talk saying - "Not only poor people should experience this", according to some tweeters!-

Tweet by Facebook manager Dave Morin!

Tweet by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar

Tweet by Twitter CEO Ev Williams

And, Pierre Omidyar's response

It looks like Gates wanted everybody to understand the importance and the need to eradicate Malaria ;)

Yet again, twitter was used to spread this little news and many twitterrers picked it up so fast! No wonder twitter has exploded in popularity!

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Rumor: Palm Pre to be launched on March 15

Next Story

Congress decides to delay American DTV until June 12th

94 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Just because you don't believe in what someone else has said, doesn't make it right to call someone retarded.
You should know better.

Once again, I'm surprised that no one else found/looked for this, but here it is, the actual video:
http://www.techflash.com/microsoft/Watch_B...wd39205632.html
(fast forward to the 5 minute mark if you don't want to listen to all it, although I'd advice you to see all of it).

And it is pretty clear that there was no "swarm" as some people seem to think, and he clearly states that they were not infected either.
Seems like the majority of Neowin are more interested in bickering than calmly discussing the matter at hand.

So he releases a load of insects that can bite me, and possibly give me a disease? I'd call that assault. I think I'd have gotten on stage and punched him in the face.

I've got no particular problem with Gates doing something like this, what pushes me into his favour is the fact that he was doing it for a good cause and he is dedicating his life to helping others.

Every year, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers...

This explains why some people are calling the stunt genius while those who don't get it are calling it stupid.

Funny stuff and who cares. I doubt the mosquitos were infected with anything. He did that to make a point and to get all the rich asses to think and possible help out others.

Bill Gates spends TONS of his money on charities and helping others.

Not saying that this was not an effective, although dramatic, way to make his point; but, it sounds like something you would have seen from Howard Hughes before he completely isolated himself off from the rest of the world. Beware Bill Gates, next thing you know you will be saving your hair and toe nail clippings in a jar, while walking around your home on a cushion of Kleenex. There is a difference between being an eccentric billionaire, and an out and out lunatic. Releasing mosquitoes onto an unsuspecting audience might be the first step down that path.

rakeshishere said,
Screw Malaria.... Eradicate AIDS

in fairness to Bill Gates and to microsoft for that matter, they gave 15,000 units of AIDS testing kits in our country and continues to do so.

however for this mosquito thing i'd say mosquitos cannot distinguish rich from poor so what is the point of this exercise?

What an idiot, I'm already contributing to e.g. Unicef monthly and if I was exposed to this and realizing the importance of malaria aid unlike a retard, I'd just be horribly annoyed. I mean, it would be completely unnecessary and I would already of course realize the importance for malaria aid. I fight with mosquitoes enough in the summer, thank you very much.

I don't see what's so wrong with this act. It's a great way to get the message across to tell people to start caring about those we are less fortunate, and I very much doubt that Bill Gates is as stupid as putting out female mosquitoes which carries diseases.

meh why bother i just see it as natures own population control same with every other nasty that been dredged up over the years you wanna cut down vast swaths of rain forest fine but there's a price to pay here have some Ebola etc etc.... you know i might be more impressed with these third world country do gooders if instead of trying to feed the masses they tried a more proactive form of berth controll, why is it that out of all the animal world we are the only species to breed prolificaly when there's a food shortage no other animal will they'll choose to wait till there's enough food to support there young but no!!!!! humans are stupd lets just make more babies that'll solve the problem and then they cry poor to the rest of the world oh poor us were dying cause we haven't enough food or medicine to go round can you all help us sure we can lets start by sterilising every third kid

Umm, so I'm the only one thinking he probably released male mosquitoes into the crowd? Because that would provide the "shock"-effect but at the same time be 100% harmless since no audience member would be bitten.

Shadow Dragon said,
Umm, so I'm the only one thinking he probably released male mosquitoes into the crowd? Because that would provide the "shock"-effect but at the same time be 100% harmless since no audience member would be bitten.

A man who knows his mosquitoes! Thanks, I didn't realise that

Shadow Dragon said,
Umm, so I'm the only one thinking he probably released male mosquitoes into the crowd? Because that would provide the "shock"-effect but at the same time be 100% harmless since no audience member would be bitten.

Very true. Females only need blood to develop their eggs. They don't just go around sucking blood, just to eat - they mostly eat nectar.

micwa said,
Very true. Females only need blood to develop their eggs. They don't just go around sucking blood, just to eat - they mostly eat nectar.

I didn't know that, interesting. It probably was male mosquitos, or at least we hope.

Let's not forget -- he's trying to raise awareness about malaria in poor countries. Notice how many people are talking about this Certainly got some attention, which is exactly what I think he intended to do. Bravo, Mr. Gates. People can say all they want but he's still the most generous man in the world, in my opinion.

So if he had brought a flame thrower and started incinerating all of the audience that would be OK too, because people would be talking about it and it would get the attention needed.

So if he had brought a flame thrower and started incinerating all of the audience that would be OK too, because people would be talking about it, would get the attention needed.

No, I don't think the flamethrower would have worked too well. You seem to be missing something here though, so I'll point it out: releasing harmless bugs isn't the same as blasting people with fire.

Relativity_17 said,
No, I don't think the flamethrower would have worked too well. You seem to be missing something here though, so I'll point it out: releasing harmless bugs isn't the same as blasting people with fire.

Precisely. I wouldn't be too happy if he actually hurt someone, but a harmless publicity stunt is exactly what it says it is...and it worked.

Relativity_17 said,
No, I don't think the flamethrower would have worked too well. You seem to be missing something here though, so I'll point it out: releasing harmless bugs isn't the same as blasting people with fire.

Well, those "harmless" bugs kill people too, I admit, it's not as flashy as the flamethrower, but people die because of those too. That's what the conference is about, right?

Lechio said,
Well, those "harmless" bugs kill people too. That's what the conference is about, right?

Wrong again. Certain species of mosquito can carry malaria, which can result in death if untreated. It isn't the mosquitoes that kill people, they're simply the more visible facet of malaria. Obviously Bill didn't release infected mosquitoes, but you're welcome to keep trying to vilify his actions if you get your kicks from that.

Relativity_17 said,
Wrong again. Certain species of mosquito can carry malaria, which can result in death if untreated. It isn't the mosquitoes that kill people, they're simply the more visible facet of malaria. Obviously Bill didn't release infected mosquitoes, but you're welcome to keep trying to vilify his actions if you get your kicks from that.

... I know perfectly well what malaria is. And FYI, malaria is not the only disease that can be carried by mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are estimated to transmit disease to more than 700 million people annually in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and much of Asia with millions of resulting deaths.
(...)

The viral diseases yellow fever and dengue fever are transmitted mostly by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Other viral diseases like epidemic polyarthritis, Rift Valley fever, Ross River Fever, St. Louis encephalitis, West Nile virus (WNV), Japanese encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis and several other encephalitis type diseases are carried by several different mosquitoes. Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and Western equine encephalitis (WEE) occurs in the United States where it causes disease in humans, horses, and some bird species. Because of the high mortality rate, EEE and WEE are regarded as two of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. Symptoms range from mild flu-like illness to encephalitis, coma and death.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito-borne_disease

There's also those people who are allergic to insect bytes.

I'm commenting on the story, expressing my personal opinion, you don't have to agree with it. Stop being a naive fanboy.

Except these obviously wouldn't be infected bugs. Where are you going to pick up a bunch of mosquitoes in the US?

I rather doubt Bill went down to the local swamp and got out a big net. Besides, as you quote yourself "in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and much of Asia". Not the US.


As for the idea of people being allergic to mosquito bites, link please?

Right. So those are 100% sane mosquitoes... Let's bet the life of the audience on that.

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and Western equine encephalitis (WEE) occurs in the United States where it causes disease in humans, horses, and some bird species. Because of the high mortality rate, EEE and WEE are regarded as two of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. Symptoms range from mild flu-like illness to encephalitis, coma and death.

You didn't read this part?

Don't believe there's such a thing as a person exclusively allergic to mosquitoes, haven't said that.

Kirkburn said,
Except these obviously wouldn't be infected bugs. Where are you going to pick up a bunch of mosquitoes in the US?

I rather doubt Bill went down to the local swamp and got out a big net. Besides, as you quote yourself "in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico and much of Asia". Not the US.


As for the idea of people being allergic to mosquito bites, link please?

Yeah, I'm sure that these mosquitos were tested and made sure they were not infected with any kind of disease. Bill isn't that ignorant - unlike some people in this thread.

Lechio said,
Don't believe there's such a thing as a person exclusively allergic to mosquitoes, haven't said that.

No, but you said there are people allergic to mosquitoes, which I'm waiting for evidence of.

And if the mosquitoes are lab grown, how could they carry disease? (And fair point, I missed the reference to the US in the second half of your quote, which was the only relevant part).

Kirkburn said,
No, but you said there are people allergic to mosquitoes, which I'm waiting for evidence of.

And if the mosquitoes are lab grown, how could they carry disease?

Haven't said that there are people allergic to mosquitoes, but that there are people who are allergic to insect bytes.

some people may experience anaphylaxis after being bitten by mosquitoes. Other people may have experienced whole body urticaria and angioedema (hives and swelling), or worsening of asthma symptoms after being bitten. Typically, these symptoms occur within minutes after a mosquito bite, compared to Skeeter Syndrome, which may take hours to days to occur.

http://allergies.about.com/od/insectallerg...uitoallergy.htm
http://allergies.about.com/od/glossaryofal...anaphylaxis.htm


"lab grown" doesn't necessarily mean sane.

micwa said,
Yeah, I'm sure that these mosquitos were tested and made sure they were not infected with any kind of disease. Bill isn't that ignorant - unlike some people in this thread. ;)

You may think I'm ignorant, but at least I'm not the "eccentric" billionaire who thinks he can get away with pretty much everything, including toying around with people and get applauded by doing such things.
After all, it's all about him. What's this story about?
I'll tell you: Mr. Bill Gates...

You might want to read Shadow Dragon's post down there. Because if what he says is true, there goes your complaint about people being allergic to insect bites.

rm20010 said,
You might want to read Shadow Dragon's post down there. Because if what he says is true, there goes your complaint about people being allergic to insect bites.

Already read his post. Can you and Shadow Dragon be 100% sure about the sex of the mosquito?
The article doesn't say anything about that.

Lechio said,
Already read his post. Can you and Shadow Dragon be 100% sure about the sex of the mosquito?
The article doesn't say anything about that.

So you're assuming Bill Gates is stupid, and our assumption is that he's a sane human being.

Lechio said,
I'm commenting on the story, expressing my personal opinion, you don't have to agree with it. Stop being a naive fanboy.

Nice, two established tactics of argument: 1). State that your position is a personal opinion which cannot be wrong. 2). Attempt to invalidate the argument of the opposition categorizing them as fanboys, thereby casting doubt upon their argument.

We'll ignore the fact that you bash all things Microsoft for now, and simply go with your original analogy that the harm associated with releasing mosquitoes at a conference is equatable to blasting the attendees with a flamethrower. This is an absurdly hyperbolic statement, and can be rejected because it is silly.

You've obviously continued to assert that mosquitoes are dangerous and that Bill Gates increased the potential for harm by releasing them at a conference. There are two problems with this argument. The first is that there are mosquitoes anyway, that is to say, they are not some imported exotic scourge that has never been previously seen in the United States. I'll bet you that every attendee at the conference has encountered mosquitoes in the past - in fact, so many times that many were able to correctly identify Bill's surprise as mosquitoes. Unless the people of this audience, in attendance of a malaria conference, live very sheltered lives, they will experience mosquitoes on a fairly regular basis, thus the release of them at a conference isn't significantly increasing their risk of being harmed. The second issue here has already been pointed out: Where does one get a box full of mosquitoes, in the winter? Of course, if you are Bill Gates, you can fly out to Australia and bag a few thousand live ones, but this would be time-consuming, and potentially dangerous. The more practical solution would be to order lab-grown species specifically bred for scientific experimentation. No doubt the characteristics of these lab varieties would be well-documented, especially given their use in science. Bill could easily have picked those that aren't host to any pathogens, or aren't able to bite people at all.

Essentially, you're still arguing absurdities here, and lashing out at those who disagree with you. Having fun yet?

Thank you Relativity_17 for such a long and delusive speech.

1) Like I've said, it is my personal opinion that I have expressed. Doesn't have to match yours, doesn't have to be an absolute truth. That's the entire idea behind a discussion and a forum. And I pretty much welcome the debate with any other person.
Do you not agree with that?

2) One can easily see what you are all about just by looking at your posts. You absolutely glorify everything made by Microsoft, and try to make others believe that this company provides the exclusive and absolute solution to everything. Here's a flaming example:

Relativity_17 said,
The feature segregation is fine. It has already been noted that there are three relevant versions of Windows Seven that consumers will be exposed to. You simply won't be able to find Starter and Enterprise in either BestBuy, Walmart, or bundled with a Dell or Gateway. That leaves three editions: Home, Professional, Ultimate.

If a consumer is seriously too stupid to choose between three versions of Windows (and actually doesn't know what they need or can't read a simple feature/capability breakdown), then do you really want them to be able to buy an OS and get on the internet?


and before:

Relativity_17 said,
Having worked a bit with user support, it seems reasonable to me that not all things about a computer are instantly intuitive. An icon on the desktop called Microsoft Word doesn't instantly equate to "Click the round circle menu at the top left corner of the screen, then hover over Office/Productivity Software menu, and then click the one called OpenOffice Word Processor". Similarly, a blue E on the desktop called "Internet Explorer" doesn't instantly associate "Mozilla Firefox, the fox humping a blue circle".




Guess we do not share any ideals, you defend segregation I defend integration and equal opportunities to all. I also defend that knowledge should be free to everyone who wishes access to it.


Yes, the "analogy that the harm associated with releasing mosquitoes at a conference is equatable to blasting the attendees with a flamethrower" is an "absurdly hyperbolic statement". No-one said it was to be taken seriously, maybe you didn't understood that.

Thank you for the enlightenment, your arguments with all that insightful data has certainly cleared up misunderstandings. The original story makes no mention to the fact that those mosquitoes were harmless, on the contrary it has a quote where Mr. Gates says:

Mr. Bill Gates said,
Not only poor people should experience this.

What we are doing here is commenting on the article, and the data it provided.


You can also look in other places, it's not just me who finds Mr. Gates's actions absurd, and sees this as nothing more than a stunt to promote himself and his ideals. This is not about fighting malaria, it's about Mr. Gates and his own interests. Just look above in the article here at neowin.net, you don't even see the word malaria anywhere near the title nor in the first sentence of the article, you only see the words "Bill Gates" and a smiling picture of himself.

Kirkburn said,
So you're assuming Bill Gates is stupid, and our assumption is that he's a sane human being.

I'm only expressing my own personal opinion.

Lechio said,
I'm only expressing my own personal opinion.

It's a pity your personal opinion is absurd. And that is my personal opinion.

Kirkburn said,
It's a pity your personal opinion is absurd. And that is my personal opinion.

Good, now that you think entirely by yourself know that others are also free to think that your opinion is absurd.

Lechio said,
Good, now that you think entirely by yourself know that others are also free to think that your opinion is absurd. ;)

Add me to the list of people who thought your INITIAL opinion - equating throwing a flamethrower around to releasing mosquitoes - is insane. Flamethrower roasts people, there's no way to spin that around.

I like how you're accusing Relativity_17 of being heavily biased to MS and went as far as digging up two of his most recent posts. Maybe you should have dug deeper, I guarantee you'll find a few that criticize Microsoft. Hell, you can search through mine too. What was the whole point anyways? This is about mosquitoes not company bias (though technically he's done with MS so...)

rm20010 said,
Add me to the list of people who thought your INITIAL opinion - equating throwing a flamethrower around to releasing mosquitoes - is insane. Flamethrower roasts people, there's no way to spin that around.

It's more of a "joke", if you wish to put it that way.

rm20010 said,
This is about mosquitoes not company bias (though technically he's done with MS so...)

... I'm not criticizing a company, I'm criticizing an action from Mr. Bill Gates.

If he made a really off colour and offensive comment towards a group of people, then I can justify all this outrage.

But an action like this, that can be potential grounds for a lawsuit IF said insects were a) infected or b) are females capable of triggering attacks from those who are allergic to bites - you'd think he had already cleared this up with the TED organizers before going ahead and releasing insects to the crowd.

If it was some regular Joe activist from a reputable charity who did this, this story would've been one of the funny stories posted by Hum in RWN. Sigh.

So why all this outrage? Or this is because of his evil monopolistic proprietary software license loving past?

No pun intended, but this will create a lot of buzz.

I wonder if someone would bankrupt bill gates as a joke, and tell him not only poor people should experience this :P

lylesback2 said,
I wonder if someone would bankrupt bill gates as a joke, and tell him not only poor people should experience this :P

LOL!

Read the article people. Malaria isn't a problem in developed countries. It's as easy as threating a common cold here. That's why he want's to remove it from poor countries.

In wealthy countries, the war against malaria was won nearly half a century ago.
Malaria then changed from a disease affecting many parts of the world to a disease affecting only poor countries. Efforts to fight malaria in Africa and elsewhere faded from lack of funding, but the disease continued to devastate communities in the developing world.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/topics/Pages/malaria.aspx

cJr. said,
Definitely genius!

I'm sure it wouldn't have been harmful either, right?

Gates wouldn't be stupid enough to release them knowing they could hurt anybody, so he must have thought of a way around it, whilst still letting the mosquitoes out?


Of course they weren't malaria infected mosquitos (erm... at least I hope not)... he's not stupid.

Definitely genius!

I'm sure it wouldn't have been harmful either, right?

Gates wouldn't be stupid enough to release them knowing they could hurt anybody, so he must have thought of a way around it, whilst still letting the mosquitoes out?

They're probably clean mosquitoes grown in a lab used for testing. Like lab mice or rates that are also clean.

Besides, I doubt he let out this huge cloud of them, probably just enough to get the point across.

GP007 said,
Besides, I doubt he let out this huge cloud of them, probably just enough to get the point across.

Huge cloud? OMG!! It's the apocalypse! Oh, wait... That's a swarm of locusts...not mosquitoes. I guess Gates is playing God again... :P

Infusion- said,
What's next? Spraying the audience with AIDS-infected blood with Super Soakers to boost AIDS research?

Why AIDS? Why not cancer!? Why not {insert random fatal disease or deadly virus here}!?!?

:P

rpgfan said,
Why AIDS? Why not cancer!? Why not {insert random fatal disease or deadly virus here}!?!?

:P


You can't "spray" cancer :)

Anyway, these would not be infected mosquitoes, y'know.