Vivek Wadhwa

  Tech Entrepreneur, Academic, Researcher, and Writer

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...

2015 was a tipping point for six technologies that will change the world

To the average person, it may seem that the biggest technology advances of 2015 were the larger smartphone screens and small app updates. But a lot more happened than that.  A broad range of technologies reached a tipping point, from cool science projects or objects of convenience for the rich, to inventions that will transform humanity.  We haven’t seen anything of this magnitude since the invention of...

India in 2016: Entrepreneurs Solving Big Problems

I wrote this piece for India’s Economic Times, but it applies to entrepreneurs everywhere. Anyone, anywhere, can now solve the big problems of humanity.  In 2015, India overtook the US in the number of internet users. A billion Indians will be connected to each other, and to the rest of the world, by the end of this decade. They will be able to learn about the latest advances in science and technology,...

How Apple’s Trojan horse will eat the credit card industry

Apple Pay was launched last year, with lots of fanfare and support by the credit-card industry.  Partnering with the banks that issue credit cards overcame the resistance that early entrants in mobile payments had faced.  It also solved critical technology and infrastructure problems and offered the credit-card industry a new avenue for growth.  Apple Pay isn’t a household name yet, but it is growing steadily...

Forget recalls, it’s toy hacking you should be concerned with this holiday season

It was not an auspicious beginning to the holiday season. On Black Friday, we learned that a hacker had broken into the servers of Chinese toymaker VTech and lifted the personal information of nearly five million parents and more than 200,000 children.  The data haul included home addresses, names, birth dates, email addresses, and passwords.  Worse still, it had photographs and chat logs of parents with...

What the legendary Clayton Christensen gets wrong about Uber, Tesla and disruptive innovation

For a generation of CEOs, Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemmawas a guiding light on how to survive industry disruptions. His book educated business executives on where competition would emerge from and how to respond to the threats. Of late, however, journalists and academics have questioned the accuracy of Christensen’s industry analyses and challenged his broad generalizations. His response,...

America’s reinvention is helping it leap further ahead of the world

By Vivek Wadhwa and Edward Alden. Pessimists believe that the United States has peaked as a superpower and is falling behind in education, research and development, and economic growth. They say the country’s best days are behind it. Fortunately, they are wrong. Not only is the United States leading a technology revolution that will help solve the grand challenges of humanity — problems such as disease,...

Universities have a choice–partner with industry, or watch their best minds disappear

The University of Virginia’s provost, Tom Katsouleas, once told me that less than one percent, by his estimates, of basic research is commercialized and that there may be as few as one near-term commercialization for every $10 million invested in fundamental research.  This is an awful waste, especially when America is undergoing a reinvention in which entire industries are being wiped out and new ones...

Get Ready: Virtual Reality Is Arriving Well Ahead of Star Trek’s Far Future Forecast

In the television series Star Trek, virtual reality-chambers called “holodecks” take humans into computer-generated worlds where they interact with avatars — and with each other. Imagine being able to visit a distant planet or Tahiti during your lunch break. In Star Trek, holodecks come into existence in the 24th century and reproduce all sensory perceptions, including touch and smell. Chambers...