Vivek Wadhwa, Author at Insurance Thought Leadership



Vivek Wadhwa

Vivek Wadhwa

Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; director of research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University; and distinguished fellow at Singularity University.

He is author of “The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent,” which the Economist named as a book of the year of 2012, and ”Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology,” which documents the struggles and triumphs of women.

In 2012, the U.S. government awarded Wadhwa distinguished recognition as an “outstanding American by choice”— for his “commitment to this country and to the common civic values that unite us as Americans.” He was also named by Foreign Policy Magazine as a Top 100 Global Thinker in 2012. In 2013, Time Magazine listed him as one of the 40 most influential minds in technology.

Wadhwa oversees research at Singularity University, which educates a select group of leaders about the exponentially advancing technologies that are soon going to change our world. These advances—in fields such as robotics, A.I., computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine and nanomaterials—are making it possible for small teams to do what was once possible only for governments and large corporations to do: solve the grand challenges in education, water, food, shelter, health and security.

In his roles at Stanford and Duke, Wadhwa lectures in class on subjects such as entrepreneurship and public policy, helps prepare students for the real world and leads groundbreaking research projects. He is an adviser to several governments; mentors entrepreneurs; and is a regular columnist for the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal Accelerators, LinkedIn Influencers blog, Forbes and the American Society of Engineering Education’s Prism magazine.

Before joining academia in 2005, Wadhwa founded two software companies.

Recent Articles by Vivek Wadhwa

Killer Flying Robots Are Here — What Now?

In the popular Terminator movies, a relentless super-robot played by Arnold Schwarzenegger tracks and attempts to kill human targets. It was pure science fiction in the 1980s. Today, killer robots hunting down targets have not only become reality, but are sold and deployed on the field of battle. These robots aren’t cyborgs, like in the […]

COVID, and How to Pivot to Innovation

The global COVID-19 pandemic has almost shut down entire industries, forcing companies of all sizes to adapt and evolve. It has also done incredible things for a pivot to innovation. Safety has had to come first. And for many, that meant changing how they worked, using technology to power a shift to remote work and […]

The Big Secret of Tech Innovation

The chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani, recently announced a video-conferencing tool, JioMeet, that looks just like Zoom. On social media, Indian entrepreneurs are panning him for copying; one person tweeted that he should have called it “Jhoom” because that is how it would be pronounced locally. But it isn’t Ambani who is out of […]

Facebook, WhatsApp Are Dangerous

Facebook’s woes are spreading globally, first from the U.S. to Europe and now in Asia. A landmark study by researchers at the University of Warwick in the U.K. has established that Facebook has been fanning the flames of hatred in Germany. The study found that the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, and those […]

Where Silicon Valley Is Wrong on Innovation

Silicon Valley exemplifies the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Very little has changed over the past decade, with the Valley still mired in myth and stale stereotype. Ask any older entrepreneurs or women who have tried to get financing; they will tell you of the walls they keep hitting. […]

If India Overcomes Its Inferiority Complex

Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart has created shockwaves in India, with the realization that the vast majority of its $16 billion price will go to foreign investors, namely Tiger Global, SoftBank, Naspers and Accel Partners. Now Indian investors are kicking themselves for missing out on the largest e-commerce exit ever. But they have no one to […]

India’s Coming of Age in Digital

Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart demonstrates both Indian e-commerce’s coming of age and a repetition of history. U.S. giants will spend billions in India because they see huge opportunities, and this will produce a short-term boon for Indian consumers. When the dust settles, though, prices will rise and consumer choices will become more limited than they had […]

Copy and Steal: the Silicon Valley Way

In a videoconference hosted by Indian start-up website Inc42, I gave Indian entrepreneurs some advice that startled them. I said that instead of trying to invent things, they should copy and steal all the ideas they can from China, Silicon Valley and the rest of the world. A billion Indians coming online through inexpensive smartphones offer Indian […]

Too Much Tech Is Ruining Lives

Just four years ago, I was a cheerleader. Social media was supposed to be the great hope for democracy. I know because I told the world so. I said in 2014 that no one could predict where this revolution would take us. My conclusion was dusted with optimism: A better-connected human race would find a way to […]

Time to Put Self-Driving Cars in Slow Lane?

A self-driving Uber car fatally crashed into a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz., last month, tragically illustrating the fears that some of us have long held about the dangers of these technologies. The woman appeared from a darkened area onto a road, and the police said the accident would have been hard to avoid even with a human […]

No, AI Isn’t Taking Over Firms’ Decisions

While AI systems can now learn a game and beat champions within hours, they are hard to apply to business applications. MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group surveyed 3,000 business executives and found that while 85% of them thought that AI would provide their companies with a competitive advantage, only 1 in 20 had “extensively” […]

Quantum Computers: Bigger Than AI?

Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and others have been warning about runway artificial intelligence, but there may be a more imminent threat: quantum computing. It could pose a greater burden on businesses than the Y2K computer bug did toward the end of the ’90s. Quantum computers are straight out of science fiction. Take the “traveling salesman problem,” where […]

The Race to Quantum Computers

While much of the media attention has been focused on the race among nations to develop the most powerful artificial intelligence systems, an equally crucial race has been heating up: the race to build the first working quantum computers. As progress in the field accelerates at an exponential rate, 2018 should see an avalanche of […]

Making China and India Great Again?

“Thank you for what you are doing for America; your successes have put India in very positive light and shown us what is possible in India,” Atal Bihari Vajpayee said to me in a one-on-one meeting during his visit to the White House in September 2000. He added that he would love to see Indian-American […]

The World Doesn’t Need Silicon Valley

Ever since the Chinese government banned Facebook in 2009, Mark Zuckerberg has been making annual trips there attempting to persuade its leaders to let his company back in. He learned Mandarin and jogged through the smog-filled streets of Beijing to show how much he loved the country. Facebook even created new tools to allow China to do something that […]

‘Alexa! Give Us Back Our Freedom!’

“Alexa, can you tell me the impact of the wholesale shift to voice search and voice communication over the internet?” Amazon’s wildly popular personal assistant, Alexa, probably cannot answer that question for you. And even she doesn’t perceive how she is making us dumber and taking our choices away. The world is surely moving from […]

The AI of Science Fiction Creeps Closer

Major websites all over the world use a system called CAPTCHA to verify that someone is indeed a human and not a bot when entering data or signing into an account. CAPTCHA stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” The squiggly letters and numbers, often posted against photographs or […]

Time to Rethink Silicon Valley?

The downfall of Travis Kalanick should show the world of would-be tech entrepreneurs that they need better role models, that they need to stop looking up to the spoiled brats who lead some of Silicon Valley’s most hyped companies and the investors who fund their misbehavior. Travis Kalanick’s ouster from Uber is literally a watershed […]

The Big Lesson From Amazon-Whole Foods

I doubt that Google and Microsoft ever worried about the prospect that a book retailer, Amazon, would come to lead one of their highest-growth markets: cloud services. And I doubt that Apple ever feared that Amazon’s Alexa would eat Apple’s Siri for lunch. For that matter, the taxi industry couldn’t have imagined that a Silicon […]

Do We Face a Jobless Future?

In Amazon’s warehouses, there is a beehive of activity, and robots are increasingly doing more of the work. In less than five years, they will load self-driving trucks that transport goods to local distribution centers where drones will make last-mile deliveries. Soon afterward, autonomous cars will begin to take the wheel from taxi drivers; artificial […]

Is AI the End of Jobs or a Beginning?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing so rapidly that even its developers are being caught off guard. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in Davos, Switzerland, in January that it “touches every single one of our main projects, ranging from search to photos to ads … everything we do … it definitely surprised me, even though I was sitting right […]

The Unsettling Issue for Self-Driving Cars

It is a warm autumn morning, and I am walking through downtown Mountain View, Calif., when I see it. A small vehicle that looks like a cross between a golf cart and a Jetson-esque, bubble-topped spaceship glides to a stop at an intersection. Someone is sitting in the passenger seat, but no one seems to […]

How to Make ‘Hire American’ Work for All

President Trump signed an executive order this week that directs federal agencies to implement a “Buy American, Hire American” strategy and to reform the much maligned H-1B visa. No doubt, lobbyists and congressional staffers are working overtime to develop an even more complex visa system that will be riddled with new loopholes. It will benefit large corporations […]

The Brewing Crisis Over Jobs

Everyone has heard the old anecdote about the frog in a pot of water. If the temperature is raised slowly, the frog won’t react, eventually allowing itself to get boiled. That’s where we’re heading as a country when it comes to technological advances and the threat they pose to millions of jobs. Seemingly every day, […]

What India Can Teach Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley fancies itself the global leader in innovation. Its leaders hype technologies such as bitcoin and blockchain, which some claim are the greatest inventions since the internet. They are so complex that only a few mathematicians can understand them, and they require massive computing resources to operate — yet billions of dollars are invested in them. […]

What to Learn From Uber’s Recent Troubles

The criticism of Uber continues to pile up. Last week, the car service was found to use secret software to evade government regulators, and a video showed its chief executive in a verbal altercation with one of the company’s drivers. Previously, the company’s self-driving cars raised safety concerns in San Francisco when, because of faulty and incomplete technology, they […]

Why to Boost Visas for Foreign Entrepreneurs

Immigration has become a toxic subject. In the U.S., President Trump is trying to ban or block the entry of refugees and of people from Mexico and parts of the Middle East. Other nations, from the U.K., France and Germany to Australia and Thailand, face political pressure to curb numbers of incomers. Anger at the […]

How to Make Smart Devices More Secure

Smart-television maker Vizio agreed to pay a penalty this month for spying on 11 million customers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the company captured second-by-second information on what customers viewed, combined it with their gender, age and income and sold it to third parties. How much was the fine for Vizio, which has sales in excess of […]

Why Trump’s Travel Ban Hurts Innovation

Silicon Valley exports technology and imports the world’s best talent. That is how it has helped grow America’s economy and boosted its competitive advantage. President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from some Muslim countries sent shock waves through the tech industry over the weekend because it was a loud and clear message to the world that America’s […]

Why 2017 Is the Year of the Bot

In the 2013 movie “Her,” Theodore Twombly, a lonely writer, falls in love with a digital assistant designed to meet his every need.  She sorts emails, helps get a book published, provides personal advice and ultimately becomes his girlfriend. The assistant, Samantha, is A.I. software capable of learning at an astonishing pace. Samantha will remain […]

Flying Through Tubes at 760 MPH

Picture the commute of the future: You live in Palo Alto, CA, but you work 350 miles away in Los Angeles. After your morning latte, you click on a smartphone app to summon your digital chauffeur. Three minutes later, an autonomous car shows up at your front door to drive you to a Hyperloop station […]

6 Tech Rules That Will Govern the Future

Technology is advancing so rapidly that we will experience radical changes in society not only in our lifetimes but in the coming years. We have already begun to see ways in which computing, sensors, artificial intelligence and genomics are reshaping entire industries and our daily lives. As we undergo this rapid change, many of the […]

What Trump Means for Job Creation

As the election results rolled in, it became increasingly clear that America — and the world — would never be the same. The American people overlooked all of Republican nominee Donald Trump’s faults and elected him to office in the belief that he will fix the nation’s deep-seated problems of inequity and injustice. And they rebelled […]

The Dark Side of Rapid Change

Global trade and investment have been great engines of progress for much of the world. Over the past two decades, poorer countries reduced the gap between themselves and their richer counterparts for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, in no small part because of the opportunities opened by global trade. Technology has the same […]

Is U.S. Losing the War for Talent?

Apple is facing accusations that it copied Chinese innovations in the iPhone 7. Indeed, China’s smartphone manufacturers released dual-camera systems and handsets without headphone jacks long before Apple did. And the stickers and animations that Apple is adding to iMessage look like a direct knockoff from China’s WeChat. This is quite a twist from the days when Apple accused the […]

I Already Live in the Future; so Should You

I live in the future. I drive a Tesla electric vehicle, which controls the steering wheel on highways. My house in Menlo Park, CA, is a “passive” home that expends minimal energy on heating or cooling. With the solar panels on my roof, my energy bills are close to zero — and that includes charging the car. […]

What Next After Fatal Tesla Crash?

At first, the thought of letting my car drive itself seemed frightening. But the highway was almost empty, and the lanes were clearly marked, so I took the risk and engaged the autopilot function in my new Tesla Model X. Yet I couldn’t let go of the steering wheel. I didn’t want to put my […]

AI’s Promise Is Finally Upon Us

We have been hearing predictions for decades of a takeover of the world by artificial intelligence. In 1957, Herbert A. Simon predicted that within 10 years a digital computer would be the world’s chess champion. That didn’t happen until 1996. And despite Marvin Minsky’s 1970 prediction that “in from three to eight years we will have a […]

Theranos: A Hard Lesson for Innovators

The Theranos saga hit another low when the company informed regulators that it was voiding two years of tests from its Edison blood testing devices and sending of tens of thousands of revised test results to doctors. This means thousands of patients received incorrect results and were likely given incorrect treatments.  These doctors and patients trusted Theranos, relying upon the […]

Does College Matter Any More?

In the technology future we are headed into, the half-life of a career will be about five years because entire industries will rapidly be reinvented. Education counts more than ever. A bachelor’s degree is now the equivalent of high school, and technology skills are as fundamental as reading and writing. Given this, my greatest frustration […]

The Real Powerhouses in Silicon Valley

One of the most important lessons that Silicon Valley learned, that gives it a strategic advantage, is to think bigger than products and business models: It builds platforms. The fastest-growing and most disruptive powerhouses in history — Google, Amazon, Uber, AirBnb and eBay—aren’t focused on selling products; they are building platforms. The trend goes beyond […]

Why I’m Skeptical on Apple’s Future

Facebook is releasing its virtual reality headset, Oculus. It is big, clunky and expensive, and it will cause nausea and other problems for its users. Within a few months of its release, we will declare our disappointment with virtual reality while Facebook will carefully listen to its users and develop improvements. Version No. 3 of Oculus, […]

Technology and the Economic Divide

Yelp Eat24 customer-support representative Talia Jane recently wrote a heart-wrenching blog about the difficulties she faced in living on her meager salary. “So here I am, 25 years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week,” she wrote. Her situation was so […]

What New Delhi’s Free Clinics Can Teach U.S.

Rupandeep Kaur, 20 weeks pregnant, arrived at a medical clinic looking fatigued and ready to collapse. After being asked her name and address, she was taken to see a physician who reviewed her medical history, asked several questions and ordered a series of tests, including blood and urine. These tests revealed that her fetus was healthy […]

Apple v. FBI: Inevitable Conflicts on Tech

The battle between the FBI and Apple over the unlocking of a terrorist’s iPhone will likely require Congress to create legislation. That’s because there really aren’t any existing laws that encompass technologies such as these. The battle is between security and privacy, with Silicon Valley fighting for privacy. The debates in Congress will be ugly, […]

The Incredible Impact From Superbosses

Please join me for “Path to Transformation,” an event I am putting on May 10 and 11 at the Plug and Play accelerator in Silicon Valley in conjunction with Insurance Thought Leadership. The event will not only explore technological breakthroughs but will explain how companies can test and absorb the technologies, in ways that then […]

6 Technologies That Will Define 2016

Please join me for “Path to Transformation,” an event I am putting on May 10 and 11 at the Plug and Play accelerator in Silicon Valley in conjunction with Insurance Thought Leadership. The event will not only explore the sorts of technological breakthroughs I describe in this article but will explain how companies can test […]

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