- In a 2016 paper, Vinod Khosla predicted that there will be some form of automation in healthcare.
- Though at the time, Khosla wrote that it would take decades for this to happen.
- But AI is already taking shape in some areas of the healthcare industry and being used to diagnose.
Vinod Khosla is known for being a visionary in tech and venture capital – and maybe even a Nostradamus-like investor.
In a 2016 paper titled “’20-Percent Doctor Included'” & Dr. Algorithm: Speculations and Musings of a Technology Optimist” penned by Khosla, he predicts that the future of healthcare will include some form of automation.
“In few decades, data will transform diagnostics, to the point where automated systems may displace up to 80-percent of physicians’ or healthcare workers’ standard work initially,” Khosla wrote.
Khosla was right about the automated systems, but maybe a bit off on timing. What he predicted would take a few decades is now taking form just seven years after he penned this paper.
Buzzy healthcare startups utilizing AI are now capturing the attention of VCs amid a broader wave of AI interest. Hippocratic AI, which recently raised $50 million for its seed round, plans to use machine learning to train AI models for use in healthcare. Carta Healthcare, which uses AI to help healthcare providers cut costs, announced this month it raised $25 million. And New York-based startup Hyro, raised $20 million to replace outdated chatbots in healthcare with conversational AI.
Khosla goes on to write that “technological developments will initially AMPLIFY physicians’ abilities” by giving them access to better and more complete research data and knowledge, which will “lead to better patient outcomes.”
While the technology may not be quite there just yet, it’s fair to say that it’s probably much sooner than Khosla had envisioned this kind of advancement. AI is already being used in some ways in the healthcare system, but for more mundane tasks like messaging and note-taking, but some doctors are using it to help diagnose major ailments.
“Computers are much better than people at organizing, recalling, and synthesizing complex information and decisions,” Khosla wrote in the white paper. “This will result in far fewer mistakes and biases than a hot shot MD from Harvard, let alone the average (or median for those statistically inclined) doctor I am most concerned with here.”
Khosla has been known to take giant leaps in areas where he sees vast potential. He’s an early investor in ChatGPT creator OpenAI. And after leaving storied VC firm Kleiner Perkins, where he spent nearly 20 years as an investor, to start his own namesake firm in 2004, he wanted to focus on clean tech, well before many investors were focused on the space.
Clean tech investments weren’t necessarily in vogue at that time, but now there are hosts of clean tech and climate tech-focused funds like Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital.
“We are happy to take risks at the leading edge and stick with it for a very long time,” Khosla told Insider in 2021.
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