Vivek Wadhwa

  Tech Entrepreneur, Academic, Researcher, and Writer

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...

The strongest weapon to shift geopolitical balances isn’t nukes or missiles, it’s technology

Governments, businesses, and economists have all been caught off guard by the geopolitical shifts that happened with the crash of oil prices and the slowdown of China’s economy.  Most believe that the price of oil will recover and that China will continue its rise.  They are mistaken.  Instead of worrying about the rise of China, we need to fear its fall; and while oil prices may oscillate over the next...

Chasing Rainbows Won’t Save Indian I.T. It Desperately Needs to Reinvent Itself

Wipro announced in May that it will open a technology center in Mountain View, California, to partner with startups in artificial intelligence and automation. And Infosys has just announced an investment in Palo Alto-based venture-capital firm Vertex Ventures, “to boost its access to startups focused on disruptive technologies”. Both companies seem to believe that setting up a Silicon Valley office...

How Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley can spark India’s tech economy

Prime Minister Modi with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Silicon Valley often hosts world leaders, but rarely gives them the rock-star reception that it is planning for India prime minister Narendra Modi.  Seats for an 18,500-person event where he will be speaking, at the SAP Center in San Jose, disappeared within days, and tens of thousands more could have sold. The Indian community...

Financial Times: From chiefs to critics and cartoonists, ten men worth emulating

By Carola Hoyos and Rhymer Rigby Trying to compile a list of great male feminists is a bit like to trying to come up with a list of the 10 best songs ever. You draw up a longlist, send it to well-informed people, take their suggestions on board, draw up another longlist and fillet it down. Inevitably, it is subjective and will not please everyone. Some will be shocked by omissions, others by inclusions. Rather...