Bill Gates was at it again this week: Releasing bugs into the wild. “Not only poor people should experience this,” the Microsoft founder said as he opened a jar containing mosquitoes during a talk Wednesday at the Technology Entertainment Design conference in Long Beach, California. The stunt drove many of the Technorati gathered right to their Twitter pages.
Entrepreneur Loic Le Meur tweeted, “Bill Gates released mosquitoes at #TED we’re all leaving the room and getting sick.” Ebay founder and chairman Pierre Omidayr posted, “That’s it, I’m not sitting up front anymore.”
The Microsoft founder was trying to drive home the serious threat malaria poses to the impoverished masses around the world. Malaria is a virus transmitted through mosquito bites and is most prevalent in Africa and South East Asia. The software maker turned philanthropist is spearheading an effort through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to significantly reduce malaria-related deaths by 2015, and ultimately eradicate the disease.
While some, like Le Meur, may have fled the room during Gates’ stunt, I have it on good authority that most Mac users remained in the room, confident the mosquitoes would have no effect on them. According to reports, the mosquitoes Gates used were virus-free; however, we could not reach security representatives at Symantec to confirm there was no threat.
Apparently irony was in full swing yesterday at TED. In addition to a talk from Microsoft’s founder about battling a problematic virus, Chris Anderson read questions for Gates from audience members . . . on a Mac.