Bill Gates' main use for technology is surprisingly old-school—and everyone can learn from it

At Harvard University Bill Gates grins from ear to ear who looks over his honorary degree.
David L. Ryan | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

From artificial intelligence and virtual reality to gadgets that simply make life more convenient, technology can do some amazing things.

But tech titan Bill Gates' main use for technology is surprisingly old-school: "One of my favorite ways to use technology is to learn," he tells Axios in a recent interview.

"It's not really cutting-edge anymore, but I still think it's mind-blowing that you can learn about any subject online through education courses and videos. … Some of the work we do at the [Bill & Melinda Gates] Foundation involves advanced science, like coming up with new vaccines or health interventions, so I use technology a lot to watch lectures and learn from experts."

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The level of accessibility is incomparable with what is was, the Microsoft co-founder says: "When I was a kid, I read encyclopedias from cover to cover, and when we had an argument about some issue at college, we would have to wait until the library opened so we could research the answer. Now we have all the information we want within seconds."

Gates, like most self-made billionaires, is an avid reader and believes in lifelong learning.

After all, as author Steve Siebold observed after interviewing hundreds of millionaires, the most successful people tend to appreciate the power of learning long after any formal education is over. "Walk into a wealthy person's home and one of the first things you'll see is an extensive library of books they've used to educate themselves on how to become more successful," Siebold writes in his book "How Rich People Think."

Of course, just because Gates is old-school doesn't mean he doesn't use gadgets. "When it comes to new devices, I have been having fun using the Surface Studio," he tells Axios.

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