The View from the Top

Craig R. Barrett

Photographer: Thomas Broening

CEO, Intel Corp.

Most Important Technology of the Last 40 Years:

The commercialization of the transistor. Without the invention of the integrated circuit, the personal computer would have been the size of the Pentagon, and the cellphone the size of the Washington Monument.

Most Important Technology for the Coming Decade:


Technology That has Evolved in a Surprising Way:

The Internet.

"Russia, China, India, and Eastern Europe weren't playing in the world economic system a decade ago. Those countries are now full of well-educated people with state-of-the-art communications technology who can do just about any knowledge-based job that can be done in the United States. The U.S. is going to have much, much more competition in areas where we have historically been the leaders. We're not producing the students who are interested in or capable of taking the lead. We're not reinvesting.

"When people here talk about outsourcing, they talk about it in a terrible win-lose way. We can't go back to isolationism mode and slam other countries that have well-educated people. The United States has to decide to compete on the basis of investment in education and R and D and infrastructure. It's a long-term issue, not a 30-second sound-bite issue. A country's standard of living is dictated by the ability of the average citizen to contribute to the economy, which is directly related to education. How can we command the highest standard of living in the world if the average citizen cannot contribute at the highest level? There's a mismatch there, and it's a ticking time bomb."