Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, says he’d start an AI company today

Bill Gates

Adam Galica | CNBC

If Bill Gates were to drop out of Harvard University and start a new company today, it would be one that focuses on artificial intelligence, he said in an interview on Monday.

The perspective shows that the Microsoft co-founder hasn’t lost interest in the technology industry where his company has operated for the past 44 years.

“Given my background, I would start an AI company whose goal would be to teach computers how to read, so that they can absorb and understand all the written knowledge of the world. That’s an area where AI has yet to make progress, and it will be quite profound when we achieve that goal,” Gates told David Rubinstein at an Economic Club of Washington event in the nation’s capital on Monday.

Gates has invested in Luminous, a start-up developing silicon for AI. Microsoft itself is incorporating AI into its own software while also providing ways for other companies to draw on AI in their products.

Another area Microsoft has been working to commercialize is augmented reality, including with its HoloLens headset. Gates, who now spends about one-sixth of his time at Microsoft, mentioned this type of technology in Monday’s…

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