My articles and research on ‘Public policy’

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...

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...

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 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...

Apple vs. FBI: The tip of the iceberg as laws can’t keep up with tech

The battle between the FBI and Apple over the unlocking of a terrorist’s iPhone will likely require Congress to create new legislation. That’s because there really aren’t any existing laws which encompass technologies such as these. The battle is between security and privacy, with Silicon Valley fighting for privacy. The debates in Congress will be ugly, uninformed, and emotional. Lawmakers won’t know...

Why Apple’s Defeat to Samsung Was a Victory for Innovation

Apple just suffered an important legal defeat to Samsung in its battle over patents. This is good because Apple’s claims were frivolous; its patents were questionable; and its use of litigation to hold back a competitor set another wrong precedent for the industry. Because of these patent wars and patent trolls, technology companies are divesting huge resources to defend themselves rather than advancing...

Technology and the growing economic divide

Yelp Eat24 customer-support representative Talia Jane recently wrote a heart-wrenching blog about the difficulties she faced in living on her meager salary. “So here I am, 25 years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week”, she wrote.  Her situation was so dire that, on one occasion, she could not even come up with the...

Apple picked the wrong battle in privacy war

Imagine if the government required you to have a combination lock on your door and to give it the key. It would create security and privacy risks for you and your family. This is what could happen if we required the technology industry to add back doors to its software and devices. Hackers, criminals, and foreign governments could crack the code and abuse it. This is what the technology industry is rightfully...