Bill Gates believes another financial crisis is coming.
In an "Ask Me Anything" Q & A on Reddit this week, one user asked the Microsoft co-founder, "Do you think in the near future, we will have another financial crisis similar to the one in 2008?"
Gates, whose net worth is currently around $US91.7 billion, replied, "Yes. It is hard to say when but this is a certainty. Fortunately we got through that one reasonably well."
The 2008 financial crisis, which began in the United States mortgage market and quickly spread across the globe, was the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, resulting in 8.7 million jobs being lost in the US and about 250,000 in Australia.
Gates said his friend, Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren Buffett, had "talked about this and he understands this area far better than I do".
"Despite this prediction of bumps ahead, I am quite optimistic about how innovation and capitalism will improve the situation for humans everywhere," Gates said.
A growing number of experts have sounded alarm bells for the global economy, including former Coalition adviser John Adams, who last month identified 10 signs of a looming "economic armageddon", and controversial demographer Harry Dent.
Other topics covered in Gates' AMA included cryptocurrencies, automation in the workplace and economic inequality.
"The main feature of cryptocurrencies is their anonymity," he said. "I don't think this is a good thing. The government's ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing.
"Right now cryptocurrencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs [initial coin offerings] and crypto currencies is super-risky for those who go long."
On automation, Gates described it as "overall a great thing". "Automation has been driving productivity ever since the industrial revolution, including things like tractors and garment making," he said.
"With software this will continue to accelerate so we need to think about how we educate people for the new jobs that will emerge. Overall automation is a great thing — eventually we won't have to work as much but we are still at least a generation away from a big change there."
Asked how growing economic inequality could be addressed, he said he supported the notion of inheritance taxes. "I think the safety net and equal opportunity need to keep improving," he said. "100 years ago there was basically no safety net at all and it is getting stronger. I am surprised more countries don't have estate taxes since they redistribute wealth and avoid dynasties.
"Our economic system has created the wealth that we can now do a better job sharing in an equitable way so our system has done amazing things during the last 200 years despite its flaws."