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Bill Gates: ‘The pace of innovation today is faster than ever.’

(Stan Hondastan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Bill Gates guest edited the December issue of Wired Magazine and discussed the crucial role of innovation in improving the world:

Two out of every five people on Earth today owe their lives to the higher crop outputs that fertilizer has made possible. It helped fuel the Green Revolution, an explosion of agricultural productivity that lifted hundreds of millions of people around the world out of poverty.
These days I get to spend a lot of time trying to advance innovation that improves people’s lives in the same way that fertilizer did. Let me reiterate this: A full 40 percent of Earth’s population is alive today because, in 1909, a German chemist named Fritz Haber figured out how to make synthetic ammonia. Another example: Polio cases are down more than 99 percent in the past 25 years, not because the disease is going away on its own but because Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk invented polio vaccines and the world rolled out a massive effort to deliver them.

You can read his full piece on bettering the world here. The magazine is online now and hits newsstands Tuesday. He touched more on innovation and his optimism in this interview with writer Steven Levy and former President Bill Clinton: