Bill Gates is known for being one of the world's biggest optimists, in addition to one of its largest philanthropists. But Gates is concerned about the impact if the U.S. follows through on plans to cut foreign aid.

"Overall like Warren Buffett I am optimistic about the long run," Gates said during a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) forum. "I am concerned in the short run that the huge benefits of how the US works with other countries may get lost. This includes the aid we give to Africa to help countries there get out of the poverty trap."

Gates, who has said the idea of a "robot tax" is worth exploring to slow the pace at which human jobs are automated, says the notion of a guaranteed basic income probably isn't an option — at least for now.

"Over time countries will be rich enough to do this. However we still have a lot of work that should be done — helping older people, helping kids with special needs, having more adults helping in education. Even the U.S. isn't rich enough to allow people not to work. Some day we will be but until then things like the Earned Income Tax Credit will help increase the demand for labor."

Gates expressed other concerns, including his usual priorities around clean energy, improving education, eradicating disease and making sure artificial intelligence doesn't wipe out humanity. And he weighed in on the decades-old question of whether Microsoft copied Apple in creating Windows.

The Microsoft co-founder also took some time to address lighthearted issues, including offering up his top vacation picks (Australia and the Amazon) and how he sometimes wears a hat to disguise himself in public.

Go deeper

Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Harris boosting Biden ticket with key voters

Data: SurveyMonkey poll of 2,847 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 11–12, 2020 with ±3% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Kamala Harris is accomplishing what Joe Biden's campaign hoped she would in her first two days as his running mate — doing no harm, while exciting parts of the base with whom Biden needs the most help.

The big picture: Black women especially, but also Black men, Hispanics and Democrats and independents across the board say they are more likely to vote for Biden with Harris on the ticket, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

30 mins ago - Technology

Epic sues Apple over developer tax as Fortnite is pulled from App Store

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fortnite maker Epic Games on Thursday escalated its battle over Apple's App Store tactics, suing the tech giant over antitrust claims while also baiting Apple into dropping Fortnite from the App Store.

The big picture: Epic is just one of several developers clashing with Apple. They argue the company harms competition by taking a cut of up to 30% on in-app purchases and subscriptions and blocking most developers from getting around the tax by charging their users directly.

Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandate: "Be a patriot"

Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."