William Saito is an entrepreneur and expert in cybersecurity. His decades at work in the industry have made him someone to listen to, and he believes that Russia may be the next big leader when it comes to computer technology.
The son of Japanese-American immigrants, William Saito grew up in California. From a young age, he already demonstrated a keen interest in engineering, and a turning point in his life came when his parents bought an IBM computer to help with his studies. The family had to mortgage their house for the $5,000 that a home computer cost at the time.
Soon William Saito had learned to disassemble his computer and then put it back together; by high school, he had an internship writing new computer programs for Merrill Lynch. When he was in college he started his own company called I/O Software, which was initially run out of his dorm room. After he graduated it grew in prominence, even partnering with Sony to create fingerprint recognition technology, and was sold to Microsoft in 2004.
Since then, William Saito has been a tech consultant. His main employer has been the Japanese government, but he and other industry leaders also met with the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, during his 2008-2012 tenure. As such, he has special insight into their capabilities and future goals.
Though one of the most powerful nations in the world, Russia has been lagging behind its peers technologically, instead focusing on its energy resources like oil and gas. It does, however, have very good cybersecurity. As such, William Saito expects its future development to come from one or both of these sectors. Overall, though, he and the other tech leaders advised the Russian government of the need to diversify and catch up to the West, with the specific goal of emulating Silicon Valley’s successes.
It remains to be seen just how this will work out, but history shows that Russian technology can often advance in sudden spurts, so it will not be too surprised if it becomes a leader in the computer industry sometime in the future.