Bill Gates Lets Loose Mosquitoes at TED

(Photo Credit: James Duncan Davidson for TED)

“Not only poor people should experience this,” stated Microsoft founder Bill Gates at the Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference in Long Beach, California.  Gates said this as he was opening a jar full of mosquitoes during his speech.  Gates was doing this as a statement that malaria is a major problem in countries such as Africa and South East Asia.  Malaria is often times transmitted by mosquito bites.  Gates’ way of presenting this issue got the whole room tweeting.

Founder of Seesmic Loic Le Meur wrote a Twitter message saying “Bill Gates released mosquitoes at #TED we’re all leaving the room and getting sick.”  eBay founder Pierre Omidyar tweeted “That’s it, I’m not sitting up front anymore.”  Twitter and Blogger founder Evan Williams tweeted “Bill Gates just let live misquitos out on stage. (@sara would be pissed if she were here.)”

Fortunately for audience members, the mosquitoes had no viruses.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hope to significantly reduce malaria-related deaths by 2015.

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at

Bill Gates Lets Loose Mosquitoes at TED Comments

  1. Ariel says:

    If Bill Gates wants to reduce malaria, how does releasing mosquitoes help? He’s done some dumb things before, but this tops them all. Did he really thing that giving people mosquito bites would be more effective than a nice keynote presentation???

  2. Sam Diener says:

    I certainly oppose Microsoft’s persistently nefarious corporate behavior, and am wary of Gates for that reason, but this act of street theater sounds like it might really get people’s attention about the need for funds to stop malaria in a way that just giving a standard Impress (oops! this is Gates we’re talking about – I mean Powerpoint) presentation would never accomplish. Bill Gates gets in touch with his inner Abbie Hoffman, whodathunkit?

    Abbie Hoffman, who along with colleagues in 1967 showered dollar bills onto the New York Stock Exchange to expose the insanity of a system designed around a mad scramble after dollars, once said,
    “I tried to reach people. It was not acting. It was not some media muppet show. That is a cynical interpretation of history. […] Guerrilla theater is probably the oldest form of political commentary. The ideas just keep getting recycled. Showering money on Wall Street brokers was the TV-age version of driving the money changers from the temple.”

  3. Sherry Reson says:

    Seems a very smart – if tremendously annoying – way to generate a visceral response. How better to internalize the very real threat of mosquito borne viruses?

  4. xil says:

    it’s not the first time Mr. Gates has let loose a lot of bugs!
    Windows® say no more.

  5. Amit Chowdhry says:


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