Kanyi Maqubela ’04
May 06, 2024

Radical shifts are coming

Kanyi Maqubela ’03 shares five big trends in tech
by Rita Savard

Kanyi Maqubela ’03 always has an eye to the future. The Silicon Valley–based entrepreneur and venture capitalist has invested in dozens of companies, including Reddit, Outschool, and Impossible Foods and has evaluated hundreds more. When seeking out founders and businesses, Maqubela looks for innovators with the potential to reinvent the way we think, work, and play. Here are his takes on next-generation technology that will change our lives over the next decade:

Mobile devices

The iPhone created a nearly 20-year era of smartphones as the primary computing device across the world. In the next three to five years, there will be an explosion of AI-powered context-aware devices that don’t use traditional screens. Some will be wearable (some will be implantable!) and while some will have augmented reality—like Apple’s and Meta’s devices—others will be voice-first.

Continuous health monitoring

The glucometer transformed diabetes management. New continuous monitors will transform the broader span of disease management just as profoundly, if not more so. Hormone- and potassium- monitoring technologies are emerging now, but many more will follow. Virtual care will be transformed by real-time data collection from our bodies.

Self-driving cities

In a handful of cities in the United States today, robotaxis are “fully” driving themselves. Within a few years, these self-driving vehicles will be in major urban areas throughout the country, and we will eventually look back on human-driven cars the way we look at horse-drawn carriages now.

AI friends

We will soon train AI to serve as companions across our lives—as therapist, researcher, tutor, friend, and co-worker all in one. These highly personalized and handy helpers will feel like Jarvis in Ironman or Tars in Interstellar or perhaps even Samantha in Her. This is happening at a scale of millions of users today, but AI assistants will soon seem indistinguishable from humans—and as personable as your BFF.

Lab-grown

Diamonds were the first lab-grown recreation to truly hit the mainstream, but lab-grown leather, meat, fruits, and vegetables will all become commonplace—and we won’t be able to tell the difference. Organic will take on a whole new meaning, and we’ll likely need to invent a phrase for food and materials created and cultivated by science.

Robotaxis and buses will be the new normal in the future | iStock Kinwun
Categories: Alumni, Magazine

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