Author Topic: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.  (Read 4993 times)

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7388
  • Senior Mustachian
Quote
The most predictable disaster in the history of the human race

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8660249/gates-flu-pandemic?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Did you know that the Spanish flu was about as deadly as World Wars I and II? And that the flu kills more people each year than Ebola has during this outbreak? You can only vaccinate against the specific flu strains each year, and most people do not get vaccinated. This leaves the world vulnerable to a huge pandemic death toll if a particular strain is both highly deadly and highly infective. Bill Gates thinks this is the most likely disaster to hit us next. I think he's right.

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4885
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 01:44:03 PM »
He's got a point. We have historical evidence of the world's failure to deal with epidemics. So far, we've been lucky that the diseases haven't spread easily enough or been deadly enough. But luck runs out.

I suspect that we'll need to be hit, massively, before the world can come together enough to put the preventative systems in place. Much happens after a disaster that could have been done before hand to limit the damage.

On the other hand, there's much argument that the world is overpopulated and it's not sustainable. There are 3 ways for large numbers of people to die: war, disease, and famine. Take your pick.

brooklynguy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2204
  • Age: 40
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 02:41:15 PM »
Eh, every expert thinks their particular flavor of apocalypse is the one most likely to strike.

Nuclear weapon specialists have been warning for decades that it's only a matter of time before unchecked proliferation leads to a rogue detonation.

Every other month, climatologists shorten the projected length of the fuse on the global warming time bomb that will displace hundreds of millions of people concentrated in coastal cities and unleash heaven knows what other consequences.

Many futurists believe there is a significant likelihood that the advent of artificial intelligence will entirely destroy the human species within our lifetimes.

Personally, my money is on some unnamed catastrophe that no one is currently predicting.

Relatedly, I'm quite partial to sol's upbeat litany of potential calamities  (global pandemic made # 2 on his list!), one of my favorite posts in the forum in recent memory for its juxtaposition of extreme optimism and extreme pessimism.

Gone Fishing

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2828
  • So Close went fishing on April 1, 2016
    • Journal
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 02:46:09 PM »
Yep, mother nature's way of dealing with over population!

Sibley

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4885
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2015, 02:49:12 PM »
I guess we'll just have to wait and see, and do the best we can in the meantime.

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7166
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 04:07:32 PM »
Yep, mother nature's way of dealing with over population!

That (disease) and starvation.

You know those cute little Koala bears we have?

Stupidest animal ever. They eat like there's no tomorrow. Then when tomorrow comes, there's no gum leaves left on any trees in the area for them to eat. They can strip a forest bare.

The other one mentioned above is war. Humans killing humans will still result in some humans surviving. The problem will be when another species comes along to wipe us out.

Might not happen for a million or even a hundred million years. But every now and again it does happen.

Rubic

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1102
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2015, 05:15:05 PM »
Bill Gates' career as a prognosticator has been less stellar than that of his flagship software company.  His first edition of his book "The Road Ahead" neglected to mention the Internet, despite it being a significant game changer even during the book's initial publication.  And the less said about his small-schools initiative debacle, the better.

Lyssa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Location: Germany
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2015, 07:54:42 AM »
There recently has been a survey among leading scientists re which apocalyptic scenario they consider most likely, masses of bacteria with resistance against antibiotics came out no. 1. Very simple infections would again regularly kill otherwise perfectly healthy people again. Given how irresponsible we are with our use of AB I find this convincing.

Re viruses: the (mis)handling of and resources consumed by just a small number of Ebola cases in the developed world did not exactly convince me that we could manage a major outbreak.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 17441
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2015, 08:19:34 AM »
You know those cute little Koala bears we have?

Stupidest animal ever. They eat like there's no tomorrow. Then when tomorrow comes, there's no gum leaves left on any trees in the area for them to eat. They can strip a forest bare.

Good thing people don't treat the environment the same way . . . Imagine if we used fossil fuels like there was no tomorrow, or kept breeding well beyond sustainable levels, or created long lasting waste everywhere in unsustainable quantities.

tooqk4u22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2426
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2015, 09:26:10 AM »
Quote
The most predictable disaster in the history of the human race

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8660249/gates-flu-pandemic?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Did you know that the Spanish flu was about as deadly as World Wars I and II? And that the flu kills more people each year than Ebola has during this outbreak? You can only vaccinate against the specific flu strains each year, and most people do not get vaccinated. This leaves the world vulnerable to a huge pandemic death toll if a particular strain is both highly deadly and highly infective. Bill Gates thinks this is the most likely disaster to hit us next. I think he's right.

It certainly could be a possibility, but given the significant improvements (since spansish flu pandemic in 1918 or earlier versions of pandemics before then) in hygeine and technology for treatment/research it is less likely to be a critical mass event...but some mutated version that could do it.  Keep in mind that for a virus to be truly effective it has to be highly contagious, airborne, and have a long survivability (i.e. will live long on a doorknob, etc - most don't survive outside a body for that long and that greatly limits its spreading)

Re viruses: the (mis)handling of and resources consumed by just a small number of Ebola cases in the developed world did not exactly convince me that we could manage a major outbreak.

And even with significant mis-handling and infected people traveling it was still a non-event statistically speaking.

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2946
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2015, 09:52:35 AM »
A flu like scenario is a when not if situation but I doubt that we could say it will be the next mega disaster.   There are just too many options and really the pandemic flu may pale in comparison to some others.   

In fact, we are in the slowly warming lobster (or is it frog?) pot scenario now with global climate change.   It is likely that we have already reached the point of no return.  That is "the" disaster and most likely will wipe out most life on earth. 

A more likely short term disease scenario is for an enterprising Harvard PhD, Muslim Extremist,  to put together the flu virus with another much more deadly virus and then release it in the western hemisphere.   This is a relatively easy thing to do.   The Russians have had this for over 3 decades, so it may just be that a truck load of Vodka could be traded by ISIS and bam, bam. 

brooklynguy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2204
  • Age: 40
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2015, 10:15:13 AM »
In fact, we are in the slowly warming lobster (or is it frog?) pot scenario now with global climate change.   It is likely that we have already reached the point of no return.  That is "the" disaster and most likely will wipe out most life on earth. 



forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7388
  • Senior Mustachian
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2015, 12:13:35 PM »
Quote
The most predictable disaster in the history of the human race

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8660249/gates-flu-pandemic?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Did you know that the Spanish flu was about as deadly as World Wars I and II? And that the flu kills more people each year than Ebola has during this outbreak? You can only vaccinate against the specific flu strains each year, and most people do not get vaccinated. This leaves the world vulnerable to a huge pandemic death toll if a particular strain is both highly deadly and highly infective. Bill Gates thinks this is the most likely disaster to hit us next. I think he's right.

It certainly could be a possibility, but given the significant improvements (since spansish flu pandemic in 1918 or earlier versions of pandemics before then) in hygeine and technology for treatment/research it is less likely to be a critical mass event...but some mutated version that could do it.  Keep in mind that for a virus to be truly effective it has to be highly contagious, airborne, and have a long survivability (i.e. will live long on a doorknob, etc - most don't survive outside a body for that long and that greatly limits its spreading)

Re viruses: the (mis)handling of and resources consumed by just a small number of Ebola cases in the developed world did not exactly convince me that we could manage a major outbreak.

And even with significant mis-handling and infected people traveling it was still a non-event statistically speaking.

Hygeine has improved. But so has global transport. Almost nobody flew anywhere in 1918. You had to travel across the ocean by boat for a week. Now, people are traveling all over the world every day. A serious outbreak could be global before we knew it was happening. And the flu is very highly transmittable. It hangs around in microscopic particles of moisure in the air and can infect anyone who happens to breath in that air. Those particles can hang around for a long time--even hours. It's a lot easier to get the flu than you seem to be saying. Ebola is a *completely* different virus. Ebola is actually *very* difficult to transmit relative to influenza. Just take the poor guy in Texas who died from the disease. He was infected and then lived in an apartment with a woman and child for 2 weeks, including time where he was so sick that he went to the hospital, was denied admission, and then went back home for a couple days before coming back to the hospital. The woman and child never got sick. You have to come into physical contact with bodily fluids to catch Ebola. And the infected person has symptoms before they are contagious. With the flu, you just need to be in the same room that someone used to be in, or any of the other possible vectors of exposure, the person may not have symptoms yet, and you have no way of knowing. It's a totally different scenario.

PKFFW

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 580
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2015, 06:44:06 PM »
The Russians have had this for over 3 decades, so it may just be that a truck load of Vodka could be traded by ISIS and bam, bam.
The US have had it even longer and a truck load of Jim Beam would do the trick just as easily.

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2946
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2015, 07:10:42 PM »
The Russians have had this for over 3 decades, so it may just be that a truck load of Vodka could be traded by ISIS and bam, bam.
The US have had it even longer and a truck load of Jim Beam would do the trick just as easily.
funny!   But I'm sure that the us scientists are paid a lot more than the now ousted Russian guys living on 20 bucks a day.   Hell the goverernment was even willing to sell Elon Musk rockets.            An interesting thing about the influenza virus is that the hosts become way more social for the first 72 hours after infection when no symptoms are present.

FIRE me

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1099
  • Location: Louisville, KY
  • So much technology, so little talent.
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2015, 08:08:58 PM »
Quote
The most predictable disaster in the history of the human race

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8660249/gates-flu-pandemic?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Did you know that the Spanish flu was about as deadly as World Wars I and II? And that the flu kills more people each year than Ebola has during this outbreak? You can only vaccinate against the specific flu strains each year, and most people do not get vaccinated. This leaves the world vulnerable to a huge pandemic death toll if a particular strain is both highly deadly and highly infective. Bill Gates thinks this is the most likely disaster to hit us next. I think he's right.

When it comes to underhanded cheating and sleazing your way to the top, Bill (and Microsoft) is a master. At anything else, not so much.

I will add that I do get a flu vaccine each year. And the anti-vaxer kooks do worsen outbreaks. The measles outbreaks in California and Texas are just a taste of what could come.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4943
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2015, 03:39:34 AM »
Whether it's flu or not, a virus is a (the?) big pandemic fear in the short term. Or An MDR bacterium (staph, anyone?)


But flu is a good candidate for a lot of reasons: rapid mutation, limited vaccine utility if we guess wrong about the dominant strain (note: I get a vaccine annually, but that doesn't mean I don't recognize the limitations), airborne, lives a decent time outside the body, takes time to manifest symptoms- plenty of time to catch a flight. All we need is a particularly virulent strain. If it's also particularly infectious...


I was very much exposed to family memories of 1918, as was my husband in his family. A walk through the cemetery is a pitiful thing if you start reading off dates from around then. A new flu would have to work differently, and far fewer would die of dehydration and secondary infections, but it's could happen.


But there are also other candidates out there. My thought is to be realistic - aware but not worrying constantly. There's no point in doing more than that.

deborah

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11595
  • Location: Australia or another awesome area
Re: Bill Gates predicts the next mega-disaster. I think he's right.
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2015, 09:28:18 PM »
The most likely thing to happen. Disease has almost destroyed civilization in various areas several times already in history. And with the ease of travel, striking everywhere is a fairly reasonable scenario.