Recently DeepMind, a unit of Google that is dedicated to developing AI-based systems, announced that they have achieved a very high score in a standardized test for protein folding. Basically, they solved the 50-year old problem of how to predict the shape of a protein molecule, starting from the amino acids that compose them.
This is a very important achievement. You will hear it being labeled as the most important scientific result of the 21st century. Now, certainly, there is not one single revolution that we are seeing and going through, there will be many other important scientific results during the 21st century.
We are in a new era of synthetic biology, of AI Driven Protein Engineering. We are not only able to take an existing protein and establish the sequence, and now its shape. We are also able to design new proteins. Churn through thousands or millions of different possible combinations until we find the particular shape that serves our purpose.
For example, we could design very rapidly and reliably, “in silico” (without leaving the computers), proteins that will block the ability of a virus to reproduce in a human cell.
This is due to the jolting nature of AI itself, and we are going to observe it more and more. The different branches of knowledge are not isolated: the achievements in one, the tools that we are developing, are constantly transplanted and fertilize approaches in another.
In the next series of videos of The Context we are going to see additional examples of how AI driven design is increasing the rate of acceleration in different fields.
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