According to Keith Rabois, a Khosla Ventures partner and former executive at LinkedIn, PayPal, and Square, areas that require human expert judgment, like healthcare and law, are most likely to see disruption in the coming years.
“One of the most interesting things we’ve noticed over the last decade is the ability of maths and machines to replace human judgment, particularly expert judgment,” Rabois said on Founder Calls, a new podcast run by Box CEO Aaron Levie.
“And it’s finally possible now to use data and machine learning techniques to replace the judgment of experts in law and in healthcare,” he said.
For example, if medical software can sift through massive amounts of data to automatically diagnose a patient, without having to go through a human doctor, healthcare would become more affordable for everyone. Rabois has invested in a few healthcare startups, and one of them uses data all the way back from 2007 to automatically recommend different courses of care that may be different from what’s been prescribed under previous standards, he said.
“Vinod Khosla, my boss at Khosla Ventures, has stated that, ‘If you want to be a doctor in the future, you’re better off learning maths and statistics than biology and chemistry,'” he added.
We’re already starting to see how this will happen.
Apple, for example, released a new developer framework called ResearchKit last week that can be used to build healthcare research apps. Based on ResearchKit, University of Rochester is developing an app called mPower that can use the data it gathers to assess the level of Parkinson’s disease by simply listening to the user’s voice.
And Rabois expects more startups to pop up in similar fields.
“What areas do you actually have to go to an expert and ask for advice and counsel?” he said. “Insofar as people depend upon advice and counsel from an ‘expert,’ those are the best areas to have new startups founded.”