My articles and research on ‘Washington Post’

Indian immigrants make it obvious that the American dream is alive and well

They have funny accents, wear strange outfits, and eat really spicy food, and some wear turbans.  Indian-Americans constitute less than 1% of the U.S. population.  Yet you will find them at the helm of great companies such as Pepsico and Mastercard; as presidents and deans of America’s most prestigious colleges; at the pinnacles of journalism; dominating fields such as technology, scientific research, and...

I used to doubt Microsoft. Then I installed Windows 10.

I don’t know if I broke a law of computing or committed heresy.  But I installed Windows 10 on my Macbook Pro. I had feared that this would condemn me to purgatory in the gates of computing hell.  But it has been an incredibly positive experience: my favorite Microsoft Office applications — Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint — work faster than ever before, and I can still use Apple peripherals — a Thunderbolt...

Why Google’s Alphabet Reorganization is a Brilliant Move

It used to be that businesses could see their competition coming and anticipate the threats.  Clayton Christensen, with his theory of “disruptive innovation”, taught that a new entrant attacked a market leader by launching low-end, low-priced products and then relentlessly improving them.  Now Christensen’s frameworks have themselves been disrupted—because you can no longer see the competition coming. ...

You can leave the office, but there’s no getting away from work

Netflix recently announced an unlimited paid-leave policy that allows employees to take off as much time as they want during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption. It is trying to one-up tech companies that offer unlimited vacation as a benefit. These are all public-relations ploys and recruiting gimmicks. No employee will spend a year as a full-time parent; hardly any will go on month-long treks...

Love of learning is the key to success in the jobless future

Not long ago, school children chose what they wanted to be when they grew up, and later selected the best college they could gain admission to, spent years gaining proficiency in their fields, and joined a company that had a need for their skills.  Careers lasted lifetimes. Now, by my estimates, the half-life of a career is about 10 years.  I expect that it will decrease, within a decade, to five years. ...

We need a new version of capitalism for the jobless future

“There are more net jobs in the world today than ever before, after hundreds of years of technological innovation and hundreds of years of people predicting the death of work.  The logic on this topic is crystal clear.  Because of that, the contrary view is necessarily religious in nature, and, as we all know, there’s no point in arguing about religion.” These are the words of tech mogul Marc Andreessen,...

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...

When your scale and fridge conspire to make you lose weight, the Internet of Things will have gone too far

Your toaster will soon talk to your toothbrush and your bathroom scale. They will all have a direct line to your car and to the health sensors in your smartphone. I have no idea what they will think of us or what they will gossip about, but our devices will be soon be sharing information about us — with each other and with the companies that make or support them. It’s called the Internet of Things, a fancy...

Welcome to the dawn of the age of robots

Growing up, I believed that very soon we would all have robots like Rosie, from “The Jetsons,” cleaning up after us. For those out there who are too young to remember “The Jetsons,” Rosie is the family’s domestically adroit robot maid. After all, why should anyone waste time doing dishes or folding clothes? I longed for a droid friend like C-3PO, Luke Skywalker’s robot buddy from Star Wars. But Rosie...

Mobile is eating the business world, but where are all the great business apps?

Every 15 years or so, the world witnesses a profound shift in computing platforms. In the 1980s the advent of the PC heralded a shift away from mainframe computing. Then along came the Internet and an outpouring of web-based applications. Now it is mobile’s turn to eat everything. And with each tectonic shift in the technology landscape, the sheer volume of computing devices associated with it expands exponentially. The...

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:...