Bill Gates: It is selfish for rich people to try to live forever

Billionaire Bill Gates has branded the notion of rich people seeking immortality as "egocentric" and pointed to the millions of people living with life-threatening diseases.

"It seems pretty egocentric while we still have malaria and TB for rich people to fund things so they can live longer," wrote the philanthropist during an "ask me anything" session on community website Reddit.

The response was to a question posed about life-extending and immortality research.

And, while no-one specifically mentioned Google, the search giant has been experimenting with "life extension" through an independent company called Calico.

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Considering that Bill Gates has developed an entire foundation, sunk millions of dollars and drunk liquified poo to help those in poorer nations live longer, it's not surprising he would take a dim view of Google's antics.

Calico operates from a $1.5 billion research centre in San Francisco with the aim of developing "life-enhancing therapies for people with age-related diseases.

Google isn't the only company fighting back the years. Other Silicon Valley types including Peter Diamandis' Human Longevity Inc. and Ray Kurzweil are also looking into the realms of life-extension research.

Gates' answers, however, were a little more down to Earth and focused on helping those in developing nations by eradicating disease and cleaning up sewage.

"Sewage is a problem. Since it costs money to process it just gets dumped in slums in poor countries," Gates wrote.

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"I challenged engineers to create a processor of sewage where the costs could be covered by the energy and water (clean water) that it outputs. We have made progress on that," he notes.

This was his third take at an ask me anything (AMA) on Reddit and the world's richest man didn't just stick to the serious topics.

He also revealed that not speaking any foreign languages makes him feel stupid, especially when compared to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg who last year hosted a Beijing Q&A session in Mandarin.

Inevitably, the topic of his wealth was raised and when Gates' was asked how he spends his $74 billion fortune, he said a private plan is his big splurge.

"I am pretty basic when it comes to clothes and food. My big splurge is having a plane to fly around in.

I play tennis so I invest in shoes and racquets to help but they don't make a big difference."

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