Vivek Wadhwa

  Tech Entrepreneur, Academic, Researcher, and Writer

The renegade whose dream started the latest space race

Elon Musk’s company SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origins have grabbed the headlines in the space race, both of them building rockets and spacecraft.  But there is fascinating backstory on how this race and the private space industry came into existence.  It is the tale of a renegade entrepreneur, Peter Diamandis, who founded the XPRIZE foundation to incentivize the building of the rockets—in order to...

Fewer foreign entrepreneurs say they need the U.S. That’s a problem.

Apple is facing accusations that it copied Chinese innovations in the iPhone 7.  Indeed, China’s smartphone manufacturers released dual-camera systems and handsets without headphone jacks long before Apple did.  And the stickers and animations that Apple is adding to iMessage are a direct knockoff from China’s WeChat.  This is quite a twist from the days when Apple accused the Chinese of copying its inventions. ...

Why China won’t own next-generation manufacturing

After three decades of dramatic growth, China’s manufacturing engine has largely stalled. With rising salaries, labor unrest, environmental devastation, and intellectual property theft, China is no longer an attractive place for Western companies to move their manufacturing to. Technology has also eliminated the labor cost advantage, so companies are looking for ways to bring their high-value manufacturing...

I already live in the future — and so should you

I live in the future. I drive a Tesla electric vehicle, which controls the steering wheel on highways. My house in Menlo Park, Calif., is a “passive” home that expends minimal energy on heating or cooling. With the solar panels on my roof, my energy bills are close to zero — and that includes charging the car. My iPhone is encased in a cradle laced with electronic sensors that I can place against my...

How Apple can make money after the iPhone

Apple reported lackluster earnings on Tuesday as the company’s iPhone sales continued to slide. The numbers make it clear that the future of the consumer products behemoth is no longer in its consumer products. The fix? Apple should release a version of iOS for non-Apple devices. This suggestion will seem like heresy to the brand’s loyalists, but it may be necessary for the success of the company. Imagine...

Why Elon Musk’s crazy plans for Tesla are perfectly sane

lookus / Shutterstock.com Elon Musk recently laid out a “master plan” for where his company, Tesla Motors, is heading. The vision is undoubtedly ambitious: four new kinds of Tesla vehicles, solar initiatives, autonomous driving technologies and a ride-sharing program. Judging by the subsequent 3 percent dip in Tesla’s stock price, the markets don’t appreciate Musk’s vision or the promise of...

My academic career and new position at Carnegie Mellon

Vivek Wadhwa joins Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley SILICON VALLEY – Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering announced that Vivek Wadhwa has joined its faculty as Distinguished Fellow at the university’s Silicon Valley campus. Vivek will be teaching courses in exponential technologies, technology convergence and industry disruption, and the new rules of innovation. He will also be working with...

After the fatal Tesla crash, I still feel safe in my self-driving car

At first, the thought of letting my car drive itself seemed rather frightening. But the highway was almost empty and the lanes were clearly marked, so I took the risk and engaged the autopilot function in my new Tesla Model X. Yet I couldn’t let go of the steering wheel. I didn’t want to put my life in the hands of software. This was two weekends ago as I drove to Big Sur, Calif. The fear lasted about...

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...