My articles and research on ‘Washington Post’

Here’s why patents are innovation’s worst enemy

The Founding Fathers of the United States considered intellectual property so important that they gave it a special place in the Constitution: “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” The framers of the U.S. Constitution were not wrong. Patents did serve an important purpose...

Why we should all be thrilled about the FDA starting to embrace innovation

On Feb. 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took a huge step towards patient-centric medicine when it approved the marketing of genetics testing company 23andMe’s carrier test for Bloom Syndrome. This was a startling — and good — development because it affirmed the rights of consumers to drive their own health-care decisions and procedures. But it also means that it has become urgent to develop policies...

Why I’m confident that the tech industry is fixing its diversity quagmire

When Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, commented that women should have faith in the system to give them the raises they deserve, he knew he had misspoken. His words at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, last October, caused immediate outrage. In an e-mail exchange with me after he left the stage, he wrote: “I just gave a wrong and terrible answer to the question today. I blew...

Why Obama should stop pushing nuclear energy on India

The White House is claiming victory for a breakthrough in the impasse with India over nuclear energy. Indian laws have held suppliers, designers and builders of nuclear plants liable in case of an accident and this made U.S. companies fearful of doing business there. During his recent trip, President Obama persuaded India’s government to create an insurance pool to compensate victims of a potential disaster...

Looking for an exotic vacation? Here’s why moon travel may be only 20 years away

Five teams competing for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize have just been awarded a combined $5.25 million for meeting significant milestones in developing a robot that can safely land on the surface of the moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send mooncasts back to the Earth. A tiny start-up from India, Team Indus, with no experience in robotics or space flight just won $1 million of this...

Book review: Peter Diamandis’s ‘Bold’ a reminder of how entrepreneurs will control the world’s fate

Just as an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs that ruled the Earth and made way for small furry mammals, a new wave of planetary disruptions is about to occur. The new asteroid is called “exponential technology.” It is going to wipe out industries in a similar manner to the rock which fell on Earth during the Cretaceous Period. That is the premise of a new book by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Bold:...

7 admirable start-ups that are driving social change

A standing joke in Silicon Valley is that the smartest people go into online advertising, virtual currency, or dumb online games. And you surely have to wonder what has gone wrong when the industry’s heavy hitters and venture capitalists provide $1.5 million to seed a useless app such as Yo. Fortunately, there are many tech start-ups that are solving real problems — and many entrepreneurs who care. The venture...

Why 2015 will be the year of India’s next technology revolution

The multibillion-dollar valuations of India’s new tech stars, Flipkart and Snapdeal, are no pricing bubble, but a signal that the country’s technology boom has begun. The next five years will see a flurry of technology innovation that will transform India as much as cellphones have over the past 15 years. This will be enabled by the availability of low-cost smartphones, the digital identity that India’s...

2014 is ending, but this wave of technology disruptions is just beginning

Changes in technology are happening at a scale which was unimaginable before and will cause disruption in industry after industry. This has really begun to worry me, because we are not ready for this change and most of our leading companies won’t exist 15–20 years from now. Here are five sectors to keep an eye on: 1. Let’s start with manufacturing. Robotics and 3-D printing have made it cheaper to manufacture...

Venture capital takes a step in the right direction on diversity

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) announced Monday the formation of a task force to help its members increase opportunities for women and minorities. On the surface, this looks like just another news release by an industry under fire; but I think there is much more to it. The NVCA is providing true leadership and challenging its members to clean up their act. I have long been critical of the venture-capital...

Banning drones won’t solve the problem

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released a report detailing more than 190 safety incidents involving drones and commercial aircraft. In response, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has vowed to push legislation that would crack down on the commercial use of drones, also called Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). India’s Directorate General for Civil Aviation has already banned all use of drones...

In defense of college: What Peter Thiel gets wrong, once again.

In a Washington Post opinion piece, billionaire Peter Thiel asserts that college is the final stage of a competitive tournament in which kids at the top enjoy prestige because they’ve defeated everybody else. He claims that college education is a bubble and doesn’t provide more value than an insurance policy; that the college admissions process is all that is important because it anoints an “already-proven...