Vivek Wadhwa

Technology & Innovation Author, Academic and Futurist

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Technology is creating the most exciting innovations the world has ever seen.  It is also causing anxiety about our future.  Navigating technological change at light speed is much harder if you don't have a trusted Sherpa to be your guide.  Vivek Wadhwa (bio) has become a globally respected voice on advancing technologies and innovation (He was just named Silicon Valley Forum's 2018 VISIONARY AWARD-WINNER. Past honorees include Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Linda Rottenberg, Scott McNealy, Ray Kurzweil, Reed Hastings, Tim O'Reilly, Padmasree Warrior, Anne Wojcicki, Reid Hoffman).

Areas of Expertise

Technology  |  Strategy  |  Healthcare  |  Finance  |  Robotics  |  Talent  |  Manufacturing  |  Global Markets  |  Innovation  |  Disruption  |  Mobile  |  Quantum Computing  |  Block Chain  |  Future of Work


Speech Topics

Navigating Technological Change at Light Speed

 
Unprecedented advances in technology have now made science fiction a reality. In only a handful of years, we've moved to the near worldwide use of handheld computing, the full mapping the human genome, and the advent of drones and driverless cars, to name just a few life-changing developments. This trajectory of technological advancement is only getting faster.
 
Based on his critically acclaimed new book The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future, Vivek Wadhwa not only explores the amazing technologies that are just now being integrated into our lives and work, but he also shares both the dilemmas and the solutions of technology advancement.  Using his wonderfully vivid storytelling skills, he examines how Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Machines, Robotics, Synthetic Biology, etc. are impacting fields of healthcare, education, transportation, energy development, investment management and more, analyzing the huge benefits as well as the economic and social consequences  He shares a three-pronged assessment that gauges whether a new technology will benefit everyone equally; whether the rewards outweigh the risks; and whether it promotes autonomy or leads to dependency.
 
Alongside a balanced evaluation of the impacts of both recently arrived technology or developments just around the corner, Vivek examines:
  • How driverless cars are a perfect metaphor for our anxiety over where technology is headed
  • What conditions make services or sectors ripe for a giant leap into the future
  • Which industries stand to benefit most, and which will be upended
  • Why Artificial Intelligence is both the most important breakthrough and the most dangerous technology ever created by man
  • When, and if, society will accept robotic caregivers, housekeepers, and even warriors
  • Whether cybersecurity can begin to keep up with our ubiquitous connectivity
 
This might be the most fascinating speech you will ever experience regarding our future.
 
Speech Subjects:  Biotechnology, Business Growth/Strategy/Trends, Design, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, Information Technology, Innovation, Science, Workplace

Disruption and Opportunity: How existing industries will be disrupted and new trillion dollar industries will emerge

 
Not long ago, you could see your competition coming. Management guru Clayton Christensen coined the term "disruptive innovation" to describe how the competition worked: a new entrant attacked a market leader by launching low-end, low-priced products and then relentlessly improving them. Now Christensen's frameworks have themselves been disrupted...because you can no longer see the competition coming. Technologies are no longer progressing in a predictable linear fashion, but are advancing exponentially and converging. Fields such as computing, medicine, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, nanomaterials, and synthetic biology are advancing simultaneously, and combining these allows one industry to rapidly disrupt another before market leaders even know what has hit them.
 
Practically every industry will be disrupted over the next few years, including finance, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, education, I.T. services, and communications. Very few of today's Fortune 500 companies will be on that list by the early 2020s. They will go the way of Blockbuster, Kodak, RIM, Compaq, and Nokia.
 
This is not all bad news, because disruption creates opportunities. New industries will emerge, and companies that lead the change will have the trillion dollar market capitalizations. Business executives need to understand that:
  1. trillion dollar opportunities happen at the intersections of exponential technologies
  2. disruptions are happening in every industry where technology can be applied
  3. entrepreneurs can now do what only governments and big corporations could do before
  4. if they don't disrupt themselves, they will be disrupted by startups from other industries
 
Businesses must learn the new rules of the innovation game and transform their employees into intrapreneurs who think and act like the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are gunning for Goliath.
Vivek Wadhwa will teach the basics of exponential technologies and convergence, provide examples of the disruptions that are underway in several industries, discuss the new rules of the innovation game, and challenge his audience members to think like today's technology entrepreneurs,  and to build the new billion-dollar businesses within their companies.
 
Speech Subjects:  Biotechnology, Business Growth/Strategy/Trends, Education, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Finance Healthcare, Information Technology, Innovation, Manufacturing, Science

How Technology Will Eat Medicine: Future of Healthcare

 
When Apple announced that it was developing a watch that had the functions of a medical device, it became clear that the company was eyeing the $3 trillion healthcare industry; that the tech industry sees medicine as the next frontier for exponential growth. Apple isn't alone. Companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Samsung and hundreds of startups also see the market potential and have big plans.  They are about to disrupt health care in the same way in which Netflix decimated the video rental industry and Uber is changing transportation.
 
This is happening because several technologies such as computers, sensors, robotics, and artificial intelligence are advancing at exponential rates.  Their power and performance are increasing dramatically as their prices fall and their footprints shrink.
 
We will soon have sensors that monitor almost every aspect of our body's functioning, inside and out. By combining these data with our electronic medical records and the activity and lifestyle information that our smartphones observe, artificial intelligence-based systems will monitor us on a 24x7 basis. They will warn us when we are about to get sick and advise us on what medications we should take and how we should improve our lifestyle and habits. And with the added sensors and the apps that tech companies will build, our smartphone will become a medical device akin to the Star Trek tricorder.
Technologies such as Apple ResearchKit are also going to change the way in which clinical trials are done. Data that our devices gather will be used to accurately analyze what medications patients have taken, in order to determine which of them truly had a positive effect; which simply created adverse reactions and new ailments; and which did both.
 
Combined with genomics data that are becoming available as plunging DNA-sequencing costs approach the costs of regular medical tests, a healthcare revolution is in the works. By understanding the correlations between genome, habits, and disease - as the new devices will facilitate - we will get closer and closer to an era of Precision Medicine, in which disease prevention and treatment are performed on the basis of people's genes, environments, and lifestyles.
 
Vivek Wadhwa will give you a crash course in exponential technologies - such as computing, Artificial Intelligence, sensors, synthetic biology, and robotics - and describe how they will converge and help turn our sick-care system into one that can truly focus on health care.
 
Speech Subjects:  Biotechnology, Business Growth/Strategy/Trends, Healthcare, Information Technology,
Innovation, Science

Videos


Articles


Books

The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future

Vivek Wadhwa Book The Driver in the Driverless CarA computer beats the reigning human champion of Go, a game harder than chess. Another is composing classical music. Labs are creating life-forms from synthetic DNA. A doctor designs an artificial trachea, uses a 3D printer to produce it, and implants it and saves a child’s life.

Astonishing technological advances like these are arriving in increasing numbers. Scholar and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa uses this book to alert us to dozens of them and raise important questions about what they may mean for us.

Breakthroughs such as personalized genomics, self-driving vehicles, drones, and artificial intelligence could make our lives healthier, safer, and easier. But the same technologies raise the specter of a frightening, alienating future: eugenics, a jobless economy, complete loss of privacy, and ever-worsening economic inequality. As Wadhwa puts it, our choices will determine if our future is Star Trek or Mad Max.

Wadhwa offers us three questions to ask about every emerging technology: Does it have the potential to benefit everyone equally? What are its risks and rewards? And does it promote autonomy or dependence? Looking at a broad array of advances in this light, he emphasizes that the future is up to us to create—that even if our hands are not on the wheel, we will decide the driverless car’s destination.

"Technology is a great servant but a terrible master. This is the most important book ever written about one of the most significant aspects of our lives--the consequences of our addiction to online technology and how we can liberate ourselves and our children from it."
--Dean Ornish, M.D.


 

Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology

"[A] solid contribution to the growing popular literature on the subject."―PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Book title Innovating Women: The Changing Face of TechnologyFrom one of Time Magazine's "Forty Most Influential Minds in Technology" comes an essential collection of candid, first-hand accounts of women in technology.

Women in technology are on the rise in both power and numbers, and now it's more important than ever to not lose that momentum, to "lean in" and close the gender gap. Although they make up half of the population, only 14% of engineers in the United States are women. They take the seeds of technological advancement and build something life-changing, potentially life-saving. The future of technology depends on the full and active participation of women and men working together, and it is vital that women are both educated and encouraged to go into the tech sectors.

Hailed by Foreign Policy Magazine as a "Top 100 Global Thinker," professor, researcher, and entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa, alongside award-winning journalist Farai Chideya, set out to collect anecdotes and essays from global leaders, sharing how their experiences in innovative industries frame the future of entrepreneurship. With interviews and essays from hundreds of women in STEM fields, including Anousheh Ansari the first female private sector space explorer, former Google[X] VP and current CTO of the USA Megan Smith, Ory Okolloh of the Omidyar Network, venture capitalist Heidi Roizen and CEO of Nanobiosym Dr. Anita Goel, MD, PhD, Innovating Women offer perspectives on the challenges that women face, the strategies that they employ in the workplace, and how an organization can succeed or fail in its attempts to support the career advancement of women.

Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain-and How to Fight Back

Book called Your Happiness Was HackedTechnology promises to help us achieve our dreams, connect us to everyone, and free up time--so why are we more miserable than ever? Wadhwa and Salkever show that our unhappiness can be traced to a concerted effort by tech companies to mold our thoughts and behavior to accomplish their goals.

For all its considerable benefits, many argue that technology has been instrumental in eroding security, privacy, and community. But Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever argue that the truth is far more insidious: technology is actively robbing us of our happiness by making us so reliant on it that it becomes an addiction. Tech companies have all the weapons--sophisticated tracking bots, GPS coordinates, and algorithms that determine the optimal ways to distract us to their products and apps--even secret coding that defeats government monitoring and supervision--but Vivek and Salkever now provide us with insights and techniques to fight back. They focus on four key areas: Love, Work, Self, and Society. In each case, they document how the promise of technology has mutated into addiction and despair, and they lay out strategies to take back control by understanding the addictive mechanisms at the root of technology overload.


 

The Immigrant Exodus

A 2012 ECONOMIST BOOK OF THE YEAR

The Immigrant Exodus on paperbackMany of the United States' most innovative entrepreneurs have been immigrants, from Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell, and Charles Pfizer to Sergey Brin, Vinod Khosla, and Elon Musk. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies and one-quarter of all new small businesses were founded by immigrants, generating trillions of dollars annually, employing millions of workers, and helping establish the United States as the most entrepreneurial, technologically advanced society on earth.

Now, Vivek Wadhwa, an immigrant tech entrepreneur turned academic with appointments at Duke, Stanford, Emory, and Singularity Universities, draws on his new Kauffman Foundation research to show that the United States is in the midst of an unprecedented halt in high-growth, immigrant-founded start-ups. He argues that increased competition from countries like China and India and US immigration policies are leaving some of the most educated and talented entrepreneurial immigrants with no choice but to take their innovation elsewhere. The consequences to our economy are dire; our multi-trillion dollar loss will be the gain of our global competitors.

With his signature fearlessness and clarity, Wadhwa offers a concise framework for understanding the Immigrant Exodus and offers a recipe for reversal and rapid recovery.


Bio

Vivek Wadhwa

Technology's Great Communicator

Vivek's background is impressive -- an Entrepreneur, Academic, Author, Keynote Speaker wrapped into a wonderfully vibrant and charismatic package. His research is focused on the critical advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine, and nanomaterials, and how these advances are creating disruptive changes for companies, industries, governments and the culture at large.

Vivek just rejoined Harvard as a Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Law School, Labor, and Worklife Program, where he will help lead a critical three-year research project on the effects of technology on future employment and work.  This will be the first study on how technology will affect the core foundations of our economy.

He is also currently a Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering, he teaches on CMU's Silicon Valley campus about the latest exponential technologies; technology convergence and industry disruption; risks and regulation; and the new rules of innovation.  Vivek was also a Director of Research at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering, Vice President of Innovation and Research at Singularity University, and Fellow at Stanford University's Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Harvard Law School, and Emory University. Remarkably, he has held as many as six simultaneous appointments at top universities.
 
Vivek's syndicated column for The Washington Post is one of the world's most popular columns on all things technology and innovation.  His newest bestselling book is Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech Is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain--and How to Fight Back.  Previous books include the award-winning,The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future, he also wrote The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, which was named by The Economist as a Book of the Year of 2012, and Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technologyfor which the Financial Times named him #2 on its global list of the top ten men worth emulating.
 
This talent for communicating the complexities of global technological advancements in simple, almost poetic ways have made Vivek one of the most in-demand keynote speakers in the world. He gives more than 100 talks every year to the most prestigious and powerful audiences, including world leaders, CEOs, industry organizations, universities, entrepreneurship groups, and a multitude of national science and engineering academies.
 
He started his career as a software developer and gained a deep understanding of the challenges in building computer systems.  His experience as Vice President of Information Services at investment banking powerhouse CS First Boston (CSFB), spearheading the development of technology for creating computer-aided software-writing systems, was so successful that CSFB decided to spin off that business unit into its own company, Seer Technologies.  As its Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Wadhwa helped grow the nascent startup into a $118 million publicly traded company.
 
The explosive growth of the Internet afforded Vivek with an even greater opportunity to help businesses adapt to new and fast-changing technologies, and founded Relativity Technologies.  As a result of his vision, Forbes.com named Wadhwa a Leader of Tomorrow, and Fortune declared Relativity one of the 25 coolest companies in the world.
 
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 one of the world's "Top 100 Global Thinkers" by Foreign Policy magazine in that year; in June 2013, he was on TIME's list of "Tech 40", one of forty of the most influential minds in tech; and in September 2015, he was second on a list of "ten men worth emulating" in the Financial Times.