Bill Gates has an unusual theory about the world: it is a better place to live than ever before.
Through The Gates Foundation, the billionaire business magnate and philanthropist is involved in improving lives all across the developing world, and he's come to the conclusion that the smallest-seeming innovations can sometimes make the biggest impact. In a new 360 video, he sets out to prove just that.
Gates narrates several scenes from the developing world where he asks the viewer if they can spot the life-changing innovation that is right in front of them.
Take the image below. Gates says in this scene, there is something that "prevents birth defects and helps kids do better in school." Do you see it?
Believe it or not, it's actually that bag of fortified flour on the left. It was provided to a family in South Africa through the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, an international organization which works to "tackle the human suffering caused by malnutrition," according to its website.
In another scene, pictured below, Gates asks you to identify an innovation "small enough to fit inside your pocket" that helps prevent the spread of HIV infections. Can you find it?
See that little black box?
That's what Gates is referring to. It's an electronic pill dispenser called Wise Pill, and it does some pretty awesome things. It lets doctors track if their patients are taking medication, texts patients if they forget to take a pill, and can remind patients to keep up with medication like TRUVADA, used to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS.
There's more, too.
Below, Gates shows an image of what looks like something out of the space station. And that's because it is.
The Arktek cooler is used to keep vaccines cold in villages across the world. 20 percent of vaccines spoil before they are used, and this cooler — which runs without electricity — ensures those vaccines don't go bad. One cooler can safeguard vaccines for a village of 6,000 people for more than a month.
"I think one big reason that people are pessimistic about the future is that they don't account for the power of innovation," Gates wrote on The Gates Foundation's website. "They simply extrapolate from what is going on today and don't consider how new innovations and insights can fundamentally shift the trajectory of a current trend. If you don't expect to see change, you won't look for it."
The innovations go well beyond just the ones Gates points out. In India, easy-to-administer oral vaccines have helped eradicate new cases of polio. In Costa Rica, water filters the size of a straw are helping clean contaminated water so children don't die of arsenic poisoning. In over 10 developing countries, Water.org is providing WaterCredit — a system of small loans to communities in need that allow them to invest in clean water solutions in their own villages and neighborhoods.
"Global poverty is going down, childhood deaths continue to drop, and literacy rates and women's empowerment are improving," Gates wrote. "And yet, many people think the world is falling apart. How can this be?"
It's a good question, and one worth considering. Check out Gates' video above and see if you can spot some of the other amazing innovations making a big difference across the globe.
Cover images via the World Economic Forum / Sebastian Derungs / CC 2.0 and Shutterstock.