US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW OCT-DEC 2018

35 US-INDIA GLOBAL REVIEW OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2018 lars that are invested every year by Venture Capitalists go to silly apps and other equally meaning- less, mindless projects. I told the budding entrepreneurs that they have opportunities that their parents could not even have imagined. They can literally build the Star Trek future that we have dreamed about, taking humanity from eons of scarcity to an era of abundance, to a world in which we worry more about sharing prosperity than fighting each other over what little we have. This peri- od in human history is unique, because now entrepreneurs can do what only governments and big companies could do before. With the advances in comput- ers, which keep getting faster and smaller, the smartphones we carry in our pockets are many times more powerful than the Cray supercomputers of the ‘70s and ‘80s were. Those were only for scientific research and defense— and cost in the tens of millions of dollars. Our phones also have advanced sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, more accurate than those in old nuclear missiles, and cameras with higher resolution than what spy satellites had. Artificial Intelligence has advanced to the point that it can analyze large amounts of data and help improve decision-making in every sector from agriculture to finance to transportation. The same tools used by engineers at Google and Microsoft—and gov- ernment research labs—are avail- able to startups everywhere. These can be downloaded for free on the web and mastered by watching YouTube videos. Robots are already beginning to do the jobs of humans in manu- facturing plants, in grocery stores, in pharmacies, driving cars, and making deliveries. The humanoids of science fiction are also becom- ing a reality. The actuators and sensors necessary to build robots that resemble Rosie from the TV series The Jetsons or C-3PO from Star Wars are commonly available and inexpensive. AI will soon take a few more leaps forward and pro- vide these the capability of acting intelligently—just like what we imagined. There is no reason that Rosie can’t originate from anywhere in the world—and speak Hindi or Mandarin. Using CRISPR, a new gene- editing system derived from bac- teria that enables scientists to edit the DNA of living organisms, it is becoming possible to eradicate hereditary diseases, revive extinct species such as the woolly mam- moth, and design plants that are far more nutritious, hardy and deli- cious than what we have now. Imagine banana and mango plants that thrive in the desert of Rajasthan. These may, one day, be a reality. This is all terrifying and amazing at the same time and relatively inexpensive to do by anyone, anywhere, using the tools. These are just a few examples of what new technologies are enabling. In the next decade, we will also be 3D printing household goods, entire buildings, electronic circuits, and even our food. We will be designing new organisms that improve agriculture and clean up the environment. We will be delivering our goods—and per- haps be transporting ourselves— by drone. We can also build futur- istic cities, which use only renew- able energies, are clean and self- sustaining, and provide incredible comforts. Amazing and good things really are possible. Yet, the same tech- nologies can create dystopia, with large-scale destruction, spying, pandemics, and other unimagin- able horrors. Many social and ethi- cal dilemmas lie ahead. You can be sure that govern- ments and investors are funding the most profitable and malicious uses of technologies. That is why it is so important to teach the world’s entrepreneurs about the advances and to inspire, motivate, and support their efforts. They will surely put technologies to their best uses and do this out of con- cern for humanity rather than just a profit motive. The humanoids of science fiction are also becoming a reality. The actuators and sensors necessary to build robots that resemble Rosie from the TV series The Jetsons or C-3PO from Star Wars are commonly available and inexpensive. With permission from Vivek Wadhwa | Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley. Former entrepreneur and Syndicated columnist for Washington Post.

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