My articles and research on ‘Washington Post’

We’re heading into a jobless future, no matter what the government does

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers revived a debate I’d had with futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2012 about the jobless future. He echoed the words of Peter Diamandis, who says that we are moving from a history of scarcity to an era of abundance. Then he noted that the technologies that make such abundance possible are allowing production of far more output using...

How today’s technology is rapidly catching up to Star Trek

In a distant part of the galaxy, 300 years in the future, Starship Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk talks to his crew via a communicator; has his medical officer assess medical conditions through a handheld device called a tricorder; synthesizes food and physical goods using his replicator; and travels short distances via a transporter. Kirk’s successors hold meetings in virtual-reality chambers, called holodecks,...

Washington Post: Come on, Silicon Valley, you can do better than this

A new messaging app, called Yo, has created a sensation in Silicon Valley.  It is being hailed as the next big thing. The amazing breakthrough?  Sending the word “Yo” to a contact with just one click. This app received justifiable ridicule from Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert and many others.  But some technology industry moguls are taking it seriously.  Marc Andreessen wrote on Twitter that...

Washington Post: Cantor’s loss won’t kill immigration reform; It was already dead.

There are debates about whether comprehensive immigration reform is dead because of the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in the primaries. The fact is that it never had any hope. Americans are deeply divided on whether people who entered the country unlawfully should be allowed to become citizens and enjoy the same rights as those who were born here or migrated legally. The insistence by the...

Washington Post: Chile teaches the world a lesson about innovation

Chile launched a grand innovation experiment in 2010: it paid foreign entrepreneurs to come and visit for six months. It offered them $40,000 plus free office space, Internet access, mentoring, and networking. And, by the way, they would get to live in one of the most beautiful places on this planet, where housing was relatively cheap and corruption and crime were almost nonexistent. All Chile asked in return...

Google, Silicon Valley must do more to hire female engineers

The technology industry has been fighting hard not to reveal race and gender diversity data — especially for its engineering teams — because it has a lot to be embarrassed about.  Data collected on Github showed that the percentage of female engineers at Qualcomm’s development center in Austin was 5.5 percent. At Dropbox it’s 6.3 percent, at Yelp 8.3 percent, at Airbnb 13.2 percent and 14.4 percent...

The powerful role of incentive competitions to spur innovation

In the 1920s, New York hotel owner Raymond Orteig offered a $25,000 prize to the first person to fly non-stop between New York and Paris. Several unsuccessful attempts were made before an American airmail pilot named Charles Lindbergh won the competition in 1927 with his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis. Lindbergh’s achievement made him a national hero and a global celebrity, but it also sparked the interest...

Washington Post: How technology can unleash India’s full potential

  Indians are fed up with government inaction and corruption.  They want accountability, better education for their children, improved health care, and economic prosperity.  And they want change now. Technology-led solutions may be the only way for India’s new government to rapidly uplift its population.  Large-scale government programs and social welfare will take too long. Here are seven ways technology...

Large companies need to disrupt themselves or be disrupted

“If you owned Salesforce.com’s shares today would you sell them,” asked journalist Dennis Kneale.  In response, I said that if I owned the company, I would make its chief executive Marc Benioff the chief technology officer to get him back in the visionary role.  That’s because it needs someone like him driving it forward and reinventing itself — while it is in flight.  If it doesn’t disrupt itself,...

Here’s what it actually takes to make it as an entrepreneur

A young male who was born to be an entrepreneur drops out from a computer-science program at a prestigious university.  He meets a powerful venture capitalist who is so enamored with his idea that he gives him millions of dollars to build his technology.  Then comes the multi-billion-dollar IPO. That’s the Hollywood version of Silicon Valley.  But it is as far from reality as is Disneyland.  Entrepreneurship...

Washington Post: The rise of big data brings tremendous possibilities and frightening perils

Debates are raging about whether big data still holds the promise that was expected or whether it was just a big bust. The failure of the much-hyped Google Flu Trends to accurately predict peak flu levels since August 2011 has heightened the concerns. In my mind, there is no doubt that data analytics will one day help to improve health care and crime detection, design better products, and improve traffic patterns...

Washington Post: Why I’m excited about the promising future of medicine

Health care is a misnomer for our medical system.  It should be called sick care. Doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies only make money when we are in bad health.  If we could instead prevent illness and disease, it would turn the entire medical system on its head and increase the quality of our lives. The good news is that technology is on its way to letting us do this.  It is now moving so rapidly...