Vivek Wadhwa

  Tech Entrepreneur, Academic, Researcher, and Writer

Apple picked the wrong battle in privacy war

Imagine if the government required you to have a combination lock on your door and to give it the key. It would create security and privacy risks for you and your family. This is what could happen if we required the technology industry to add back doors to its software and devices. Hackers, criminals, and foreign governments could crack the code and abuse it. This is what the technology industry is rightfully...

Why Facebook and Marc Andreessen misunderstood India—and inadvertently started a revolt

Facebook is being compared to the treacherous East India Company, and director Marc Andreessen is being accused of being anti-Indian, a racist, and worse.  It won’t surprise me if Indian activists launch a “Quit India” movement to expel Facebook from India, modelled on Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts against the British in 1942. All of this is because of a failed effort by Facebook to provide Internet access...

The urgent need for Silicon Valley to lead a smart and civil conversation on inequality

There are very few issues that Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and Hillary Clinton all agree on.  One of them is the growing problem of inequality in income and wealth.  From the extreme left to the extreme right, everyone is angry about the one percent who have the majority of the wealth.  There has always been an income and wealth gap, but the divide between average worker and the very wealthy has...

Free Basics And Facebook’s Waterloo In India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India made a wise decision by banning Facebook’s Free Basics internet service. The project was ill-conceived and showed a lack of understanding of India’s culture and values. Mark Zuckerberg surely had good intentions in wanting to provide Internet access to hundreds of millions of people who lack access.  But he went about it in the wrong way. In the process, he alienated...

How I realized the incredible impact that great bosses have

“I don’t care if you have to take drugs, you have to build it in six months,” said my boss, Khurshed Birdie, when I told him that he was on drugs if he thought my team could create a software development toolset in less than three years. This was in 1986 at Credit Suisse First Boston, one of New York City’s top investment banks. We were rebuilding the company’s trade processing systems to run...

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...