Vivek Wadhwa

  Tech Entrepreneur, Academic, Researcher, and Writer

The amazing artificial intelligence we were promised is coming, finally

We have been hearing predictions for decades of a takeover of the world by artificial intelligence. In 1957, Herbert A. Simon predicted that within 10 years a digital computer would be the world’s chess champion.  That didn’t happen until 1996.  And despite Marvin Minsky’s 1970 prediction that “in from three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being,”...

Democracy is a great thing, except in the workplace

“The Soviet Union I left behind was a dictatorship but the workplace was a democracy; America may be free but the workplace is a dictatorship” said Len Erlikh after I hired him at First Boston (now Credit Suisse First Boston) in 1986. Being of the Jewish faith, he had fled the U.S.S.R.’s religious persecution. Erlikh’s words have always stuck with me. It is true that in capitalism, the workplace is...

FORTUNE: It’s Right to Idolize the Entrepreneurs Striving to Make the World a Better Place

Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes may have misguided the public, but real innovators do exist. Editor’s: The following post is a response to a Fortune article that outlines the dangers of putting founders such as Elizabeth Holmes on a pedestal. In his article After the Theranos Mess, Can We Finally Quit Idolizing Entrepreneurs?, columnist Steve Tobak argues that our tendency to build up untested innovators only...

The chilling effect Peter Thiel’s battle with Gawker could have on Silicon Valley journalism

Gawker infringes on privacy and publishes tabloid-like stories that damage reputations. It is one of the most sensationalist and objectionable media outlets in the country. It also has not been kind to me. So it’s not a company that I would expect to be defending. But I worry that the battle that billionaire Peter Thiel has clandestinely been waging against it will be damaging to Silicon Valley by furthering...

Theranos teaches Silicon Valley a hard lesson about accountability

By Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld and Vivek Wadhwa The Theranos saga hit another low last week when the company informed regulators that it was voiding two years of tests from its Edison blood testing devices and sending of tens-of-thousands of revised tests results to doctors. This means that thousands of patients received incorrect results and were likely given the wrong treatments. Surely the doctors and the...

Trump’s demand that Apple must make iPhones in the U.S. actually isn’t that crazy

Donald Trump has promised that “we’re gonna get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.” He said this at a speech at Virginia’s Liberty University and several other events. It is very likely that he is not serious; Trump tends to say things he couldn’t possibly mean. But he did raise an intriguing question about whether Apple — and other...

How crowdfunding can help save Silicon Valley from its harebrained investors

There are fears that another Ice Age is about to hit Silicon Valley because of the implosion of its unicorns — start-ups valued at more than one billion dollars. By one estimate there were 229 such companies in January of this year. Their valuations are dropping precipitously because they were overpriced and overhyped. The fear is that venture capital will dry up and hurt the innovation ecosystem. In previous...

Why Tesla is the spark that Apple needs

Apple’s dismal earnings announcement shows why it badly needs to rethink its innovation model and leadership. Its last breakthrough innovation was the iPhone — which was released in 2007. Since then, Apple has simply been tweaking its componentry, adding faster processors and more advanced sensors, and playing with its size — making it bigger in the iPad and smaller in the Apple Watch. Chief executive...

How open science can help solve Zika and prepare us for the next pandemic

With the advent of synthetic biology and gene editing tools, there are amazing breakthroughs being made in medicine, energy and food. Within a few years, we will see cures for debilitating diseases, new biofuels, and grains that can be grown in extreme climates. We will also have many new nightmares: bioterrorism and well-meaning experiments that get out of hand. Imagine a superbug that can cure — or kill...

Here’s the advantage that keeps Silicon Valley ahead of the world

A trait shared by the fastest growing and most disruptive companies in history — Google, Amazon, Uber, AirBnb, and eBay—is that they aren’t focused on selling products, they are building platforms. The ability to leverage the network effects of a platform is something that the technology industry learned long ago — and perfected. It is what gives Silicon Valley an unfair advantage over competitors in...

Why I’m skeptical about Apple’s future

It’s time to admit that the emperor has no clothes. Apple’s last big innovation was 9 years ago–my interview on CNBC. Facebook is set to release its virtual reality headset, Oculus, next week. It will be big and clunky, expensive, and cause nausea and other problems for its users. Within a few months, we will declare our disappointment with virtual reality itself while Facebook listens very...

What New Delhi’s free clinics can teach America about fixing its broken health care system

Rupandeep Kaur, 20 weeks pregnant, arrived at a medical clinic looking fatigued and ready to collapse. After being asked her name and address, she was taken to see a physician who reviewed her medical history, asked several questions, and ordered a series of tests including blood and urine. These tests revealed that her fetus was healthy but Kaur had dangerously low hemoglobin and blood pressure levels. The...