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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

1 hour ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

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