Advancing Technologies

Future medical breakthroughs may come from an unexpected industry

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, recently announced a $3 billion effort to cure all disease during the lifetime of their daughter, Max. Earlier this year, Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker donated $250 million to increase collaboration among researchers to develop immune therapies for cancer. Google is…

Robots could eventually replace soldiers in warfare. Is that a good thing?

Coauthored with Aaron Johnson, who is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University and writes about the moral implications of technology. The United States has on its Aegis-class cruisers a defense system that can track and destroy anti-ship missiles and…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

How crowdfunding can help save Silicon Valley from its harebrained investors

There are fears that another Ice Age is about to hit Silicon Valley because of the implosion of its unicorns — start-ups valued at more than one billion dollars. By one estimate there were 229 such companies in January of this year. Their valuations are dropping precipitously because…