Russ: Welcome back to The BusinessMakers Show. My guest today: Vivek Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow with Carnegie Mellon in Silicon Valley. Vivek, welcome to The BusinessMakers Show.
Vivek: Great to be here.
Russ: Ok, so you are, in my opinion, the expert on disruption in our economy for the future. Would you agree with that?
Vivek: I’ve become that because I’ve been researching the impact of technology on industry, and everywhere I look, I see major change, which you call disruption happening.
Russ: Ok. Well, and this is kind of extraordinary times, right?
Vivek: Yeah. There’s never been a period in human history like this when technology goes from being on a linear curve to an exponential curve, when it starts trending upwards and everything starts changing on us. We’ve never, ever experienced such rapid change before.
Russ: Ok, well you know this is a business show where we talk about innovation and invention all the time. I think we have a lot of people that are, that are actually fans of disruption, too. But kind of carry us through some of the sectors that you look at. What about, what about retail and that whole category, and robotics.
Vivek: Retail? Well, imagine now having headsets that you wear, which take you into shopping mall. You can look at the goods, you know, just click on them. Literally using a virtual reality headsets, and now you have them droned over to your house 30 minutes later.
Russ: Is that really in the future?
Vivek: I know developers who are creating these technologies, and drone delivery, uh, will likely be approved in the next year or two. So, we’ll now have Amazon and Walmart, and Google providing, delivering to our house on demand. Imagine having your morning latte delivered to you, uh, on your back porch via drone. This is not science fiction; it’s happening.
Russ: You bet. So, you’ve talked a lot about the disruption in medical and health care. Just give us an overview.
Vivek: So in medicine now you have the same sensors that were being developed for computers making, sensing our computers. They are now being used in to diagnose human health. We now have genomics, which it costs 3 billion dollars, roughly, to sequence a human genome about 15 years ago. It costs $1000 right now. Within 5 years, it will cost the same as a cup of coffee, which means that we become data, our doctors are becoming software, we can now have, um, uh, our smartphones becoming our physicians, keeping us healthier, which means it costs less. We’re talking now, looking at everyone having good healthcare because technology has reduced costs dramatically.
We’re headed into an era of abundance and we’re surprised if everything drops dramatically, because as technologies advancement becomes cheaper, we’re talking about being able to live longer, healthier lives; having our smart phone basically, uh, become our personal physician. You know, it advises you that, look, you are about to get sick, please take these precautionary measures. Or, when you are about to eat that extra piece of pie, it says, “Abort, abort, abort you fat pig. You don’t need this.” Just so we won’t get that disrespectful, but, but having technologies now guide us in our health, and everything is becoming cheaper, so we can now live better, healthier lives. That’s the good news.
Russ: I’ve heard you talk many times about the difference between linear improvement and exponential improvement, and that’s playing a role in all of these things.
Vivek: Exactly. You know, we’ve, we all know about Moore’s Law, about how computing has been advancing on its exponential curve. That every year we every year or two our computers get faster, and cheaper, and smaller, and so on. That same curve is applying to everything that computing touches. Everything is becoming information, and when other fields become information they go on this exponential curve.
Russ: So, but what’s the impact on employment, on on the population, on the workforce?
Vivek: I see for the next 5 or 10, uh, 15 years, jobs being created in America. They see them disappearing from China, for example, because when the robots start taking the jobs, doing the jobs of manufacturing workers, what will the human beings do? We’re talking about millions of people becoming unemployed. And the robots come to America. In the short term we’re going to be creating new jobs, because we’re going to be setting up new factories, we’re going to be building new devices. So, short term, amazing prosperity; long term, the AIs, the artificial intelligences and the robots end up doing most of the work human beings do, which means, that there’s much less for us to do. So, jobless future, you know it’s looking more and more likely in the 15-20 year timeframe.
Russ: So after that, we just gotta worry about what we do in all our spare time, I guess.
Vivek: Well, that’s something which most Americans wouldn’t worry about
Russ: You know, you talk an are an expert in detail and disruption in all categories of business and life these days. How do you, you know when you take that and you look at the people that we elect to lead our countries, and our governments who don’t seem to adjust very well to today’s situation, how in the world is that going to operate?
Vivek: Our leaders are out of touch with reality. So I’m hoping that they too will be enhanced by AI.
Russ: Vivek, I really appreciate you sharing your perspective.
Vivek: Thank you, my friend.
Russ: You bet. And that wraps up my discussion with Vivek Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow with Carnegie Mellon, Silicon Valley. And this is The BusinessMakers Show.
brought to you by