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...

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...

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...

The urgent need for Silicon Valley to lead a smart and civil conversation on inequality

There are very few issues that Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Hillary Clinton all agree on.  One of them is the growing problem of inequality in income and wealth.  From the extreme left to the extreme right, everyone is angry about the one percent who have the majority of the wealth.  There has always been an income and wealth gap, but the divide between average worker and the very wealthy has...

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...

R.I.P. Bitcoin. It’s time to move on.

Not long ago, venture capitalists were talking about how Bitcoin was going to transform the global currency system and render governments powerless to police monetary transactions.  Now the cryptocurrency is fighting for survival.  The reality came to light on January 14, when its influential developer, Mike Hearn, declared Bitcoin a failure and disclosed that he had sold all of his Bitcoins.  The price...

These 6 technologies will define 2016

For the past century, the price and performance of computing has been on an exponential curve.  And as futurist Ray Kurzweil observed, once any technology becomes an information technology, its development follows the same curve, so we are seeing exponential advances in technologies such as sensors, networks, artificial intelligence, and robotics.  The convergence of these technologies is making amazing things...

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...