My articles and research on ‘Public policy’

Free Basics And Facebook’s Waterloo In India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India made a wise decision by banning Facebook’s Free Basics internet service. The project was ill-conceived and showed a lack of understanding of India’s culture and values. Mark Zuckerberg surely had good intentions in wanting to provide Internet access to hundreds of millions of people who lack access.  But he went about it in the wrong way. In the process, he alienated...

The many reasons to be excited about America’s future

Every 30 or 40 years, Americans become incredibly pessimistic.  They begin to believe the nation is falling behind in competitiveness and innovation, that their children will not be as well off as they themselves have been, and that some other country will own the future.  They fear that the U.S. will go the way of the British Empire in the 20th century. This may be the country’s greatest advantage, because...

India deserves better than Mark Zuckerberg’s watered-down Internet

Mark Zuckerberg is taking intense fire in India over an initiative that his organization Internet.org launched, to provide limited Internet access to the masses. He seems genuine in his desire to bring digital equality to the world: in an op-ed for The Times of India, he defended this initiative, called Free Basics, citing the example of a farmer named Ganesh, who would be able to find weather information and...

Forget recalls, it’s toy hacking you should be concerned with this holiday season

It was not an auspicious beginning to the holiday season. On Black Friday, we learned that a hacker had broken into the servers of Chinese toymaker VTech and lifted the personal information of nearly five million parents and more than 200,000 children.  The data haul included home addresses, names, birth dates, email addresses, and passwords.  Worse still, it had photographs and chat logs of parents with...

America’s reinvention is helping it leap further ahead of the world

By Vivek Wadhwa and Edward Alden. Pessimists believe that the United States has peaked as a superpower and is falling behind in education, research and development, and economic growth. They say the country’s best days are behind it. Fortunately, they are wrong. Not only is the United States leading a technology revolution that will help solve the grand challenges of humanity — problems such as disease,...

How Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley can spark India’s tech economy

Prime Minister Modi with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Silicon Valley often hosts world leaders, but rarely gives them the rock-star reception that it is planning for India prime minister Narendra Modi.  Seats for an 18,500-person event where he will be speaking, at the SAP Center in San Jose, disappeared within days, and tens of thousands more could have sold. The Indian community...

What we’ll encounter on the path to the jobless future

By Michael Fertik and Vivek Wadhwa In just two short decades or so, we’ll enter a jobless future. Thanks to highly disruptive advanced technologies, jobs — even industries — will soon vanish, becoming remnants of a distantly remembered past. Other positions will be more efficiently done by machines, eliminating the need for human employees. This has happened before – indeed, since the dawn of the Industrial...

Economic Times: What PM Narendra Modi must bring back from Silicon Valley

When PM Modi visits Silicon Valley, he will meet an expatriate community different from anywhere else in the world. He will meet many Indians who have left their regional, religious, and socio-economic differences behind, and who work together to achieve success and uplift their communities. Most Indians in Silicon Valley consider themselves to be loyal American citizens, yet they take extraordinary pride in...

Sorry, but the jobless future isn’t a luddite fallacy

With the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent, the lowest in seven years, policy makers are heaving a sigh of relief. Indeed, with the technology boom in progress, there is a lot to be optimistic about. Manufacturing will be returning to U.S. shores with robots doing the job of Chinese workers; American carmakers will be mass-producing self-driving electric vehicles; technology companies will develop...

Why calling Asian Americans a model minority glosses over crucial issues

Asians Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing racial group in the United States; their population is expected to double to more than 47 million by 2060. Yet the needs of these communities are rarely discussed,because AAPIs, in the aggregate, are also the highest-income and best-educated ethnic groups in the United States. A common perception is that they are the model minority: the doctors,...

Quantum computing is about to make big trouble for cybersecurity

“Spooky action at a distance” is how Albert Einstein described one of the key principles of quantum mechanics: entanglement.  Entanglement occurs when two particles become related such that they can coordinate their properties instantly even across a galaxy.  Think of wormholes in space or Star Trek transporters that beam atoms to distant locations.  Quantum mechanics posits other spooky things too:...

The coming problem of our iPhones being more intelligent than us

Ray Kurzweil made a startling prediction in 1999 that appears to be coming true: that by 2023 a $1000 laptop would have the computing power and storage capacity of a human brain.  He also predicted that Moore’s Law, which postulates that the processing capability of a computer doubles every 18 months, would apply for 60 years—until 2025—giving way then to new paradigms of technological change. Kurzweil...