What the world shouldn’t learn from Silicon Valley

Learn all you can from the entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley but don’t become like them. This was my advice to a group of 91 Indian students who are visiting here on a program sponsored by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. In a talk I…

Facebook and WhatsApp aren’t just flawed — they’re downright dangerous

Facebook’s woes are spreading globally, first from the U.S., then to Europe and now in Asia. A landmark study by researchers at the University of Warwick in the U.K. has conclusively established that Facebook has been fanning the flames of hatred in Germany. The…

Forget the Saudis: Apple or Google should acquire Tesla

Steve Jobs wanted to build an electric car as far back as 2008.  In 2014, Tim Cook reportedly funded the project.  To date, though, Apple has had little to show for it, and the rumors are that its electric vehicle will launch as late…

Revisiting the myths about entrepreneurship and innovation

Silicon Valley well exemplifies the saying “The more things change, the more they stay the same”.  Very little has changed over the past decade, with the Valley still mired in myth and stale stereotype.  Ask any older entrepreneurs or women who have tried to…

How technology is hacking love—as well as our happiness

Go into any bar in New York City or San Francisco (or increasingly Mumbai and Sydney) popular with the younger crowd and you will find a curious transformation. The majority of the patrons spend at least as much time checking their phones as they…

Workplace technology is as addictive as a casino’s slot machine — and makes us less productive

Many of us are addicted to social media. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, the technologies’ creators have found ways to keep us coming back for more. Google design ethicist Tristan Harris has called the smartphone a “slot machine in our pocket”:…

How Design Can Make Tech Products Less Addictive

It’s the summer of 2018, the summer of Fortnite, and we all know we are addicted. Addicted to email, Snapchat, Instagram, Fortnite, Facebook. We swap outdoor time on the trail for indoor time around the console. Our kids log into Snapchat every day on vacation to keep…

Why Facebook must shut down WhatsApp and fix it

Defects in the design of Facebook’s WhatsApp platform may have led to as many as two dozen people losing their lives in India. With its communications encrypted end-to-end, there is no way for anyone to moderate posts; so WhatsApp has become what “an unfiltered…

WIRED: How can we make technology healthier for humans?

IN A WELL-KNOWN parable, a group of blind men encounters an elephant. Each man touches a different part of the elephant and receives very different tactile feedback. Their later descriptions of the elephant to each other disagree, though each individual’s description is accurate and captures…

Trump is the greatest gift that Twitter and other social media could have asked for

In the 1930s, psychologist B.F. Skinner put rats in boxes and taught them to push levers to receive a food pellet. The pushed the levers only when hungry, though.  To get the rats to press the lever repeatedly, even when they did not need…

Why liberal arts and the humanities are as important as engineering

Earlier in my academic career, I used to advise students to focus on science and engineering, believing that they were a prerequisite for success in business. I had largely agreed with Bill Gates’s assertions that America needed to spend its limited education budgets on these disciplines,…

Why India’s investors need to get over their inferiority complex

Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart has created shockwaves in India, with the realization that the vast majority of its $16 billion price will go to foreign investors, namely Tiger Global, SoftBank, Naspers, and Accel Partners.  Now Indian investors are kicking themselves for missing out on…

Why I am Silicon Valley’s greatest critic–and fan

When Silicon Valley Forum informed me that I was to be a recipient of its 21st visionary awards, I was in disbelief.  I have long been a critic of the ways of Silicon Valley and am clearly not in the same league as the…

My advice to the world’s entrepreneurs: Copy and steal — the Silicon Valley way

In a videoconference hosted by Indian start-up website Inc42, I gave Indian entrepreneurs some advice that startled them. I said that instead of trying to invent new things, they should copy and steal all the ideas they can from China, Silicon Valley and the rest of…

I was wrong. Too much tech is ruining lives

Just four years ago I was a cheerleader. Social media was supposed to be the great hope for democracy. I know because I told the world so. I said in 2014 that no-one could predict where this revolution would take us. My conclusion was dusted…

Maybe it is time to #DeleteWhatsApp

WhatsApp differentiates itself from Facebook by touting its privacy and end-to-end encryption. “Some of your most personal moments are shared with WhatsApp”, it says, so “your messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, and calls are secured from falling into the wrong hands”. A WhatsApp…

Why it may be time to put self-driving cars in the slow lane

A self-driving Uber car fatally crashed into a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., last week, tragically illustrating the fears that some of us have long held about the dangers of these technologies. The woman appeared from a darkened area onto a road, and the police said the…