‘India can lead the Innovation Wave’- Vivek Wadhwa, Technology Guru, Silicon Valley, USA
Addressing the rapt audience at the Birla Institute of Management Technology in Greater Noida, Prof. Vivek Wadhwa, who is considered one of the top management thinkers of the world, said that, ‘the resurgence of satellites and other technologies will lead to the demise of telecom companies. He very emphatically stressed on the point that the availability of free and open source technologies has lead to a shift in trends. Now quite a bit of the solutions for the developing world are emerging from the developing countries themselves. Due to exponential technology now a days India has the same access to all technologies like the Western countries. Technology has become cheaper. He quoted the examples of innovations in healthcare from India and water purification systems from Chile.
Prof. Vivek Wadhwa is an American technology entrepreneur and academic, a Distinguished Fellow and professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering and a Director of Research at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering. He is a globally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post and author of 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 of Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, which documents the struggles and triumphs of women. Wadhwa has held appointments at Stanford Law School, Harvard Law School, and Emory University and is a faculty member at Singularity University. 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 magazine’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.
Speaking on the occasion of a special lecture on Advancement in Technologies at BIMTECH, he said, ‘Indian entrepreneurs will need to catch up and learn. They will and they should take advantage of the opportunities that are becoming available as hundreds of millions of Indians come online through their smartphones by developing innovative technologies for India and the developing world. He also mentioned that this decade will be the most innovative in history, predicting that “today’s technology is rapidly catching up to Star Trek” and that in the coming years, 3D printers will make it possible to synthetically produce meat and create an abundance of food, humans will eventually be banned from driving cars, and artificial intelligence will be able to be individual’s personal medical assistants. In his presentation he talked about the present and the future of technology, as perceived by him. He mentioned that for more than 100 years, the processing power of computers has doubled every 18 months. Now it has come to the point where smartphones are more powerful than yesterday’s supercomputers were. Faster computers are now being used to design faster computers; and computers and the information technology that they enable are absorbing other fields. He gave the example of the Apple medical research kit which is a good initiative in the medical field and it can be used through a smartphone app.
According to Prof Wadhwa, “I spend much of my time talking to entrepreneurs and researchers about breakthrough technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics. These entrepreneurs are building a better future, often at a breakneck pace. Vivek Wadhwa also emphasized the fact that China’s manufacturing would soon collapse as the pace of the usage of robotics technologies increases because after some time it would become cheaper to use robots than outsource manufacturing to China!” Musing over the rapid and exponential growth of advancing technologies, he said that ‘within 6-7 years, supercomputing will have all the power of a human brain. Whether we believe it or not, and like it or not, several technologies are advancing on exponential curves and converging. After the lecture, there was a lively question and answer session in which Prof. Vivek Wadhwa was peppered with questions by the students and guests alike.
Dr Harivansh Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH, also announced a prize money of Rs. 7.5 lacs worth for the ten students and alumni from BIMTECH, who would give the best ideas about the advancements in technology. Prof Sunil Sangra also announced the information about the ‘Exponential Innovation Workshop for Thought Leaders in India’ in Delhi on October 14- 15, which will be conducted by Prof. Vivek Wadhwa.