Topic: ‘Biotech Startup’
(Last updated: 15.03.2018)
The idea of using artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate drug discovery process and boost a success rate of pharmaceutical research programs has inspired a notable amount of activity over the last several years with a considerable number of initiated research collaborations between AI-driven R&D vendors and top pharmaceutical companies in 2016-2017.
(For a detailed review of the topic, read Biopharma’s Hunt For Artificial Intelligence: Who Does What?).
A busy beginning of 2018 shows that the area is getting even “hotter” and things start unfolding faster in the emerging “AI for drug discovery” space. Below is a brief summary of some of the most notable events of this year so far:
(Last updated 24.02.2018)
The type of artificial intelligence (AI) which scares some of the greatest minds, like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, is called “general artificial intelligence” -- the one which can “think” pretty much like humans do, and which can quickly evolve into a dangerous “superintelligence”. There is a notion that it might be invented in the nearest decades, but today we are definitely not there yet. The AI which is making headlines these days is a “narrow artificial intelligence”, a limited type of machine “intelligence” able to solve only a specific task or a group of tasks. It can’t go anywhere beyond specifics of the problem for which it is designed, so apparently, it will not hurt anyone in the nearest time. But already now it can provide meaningful practical results on those narrow tasks, like natural language processing, image recognition, controlling self-driving cars, and helping develop new drugs more efficiently. With the ability to find hidden and unintuitive patterns in vast amounts of data in ways that no human can do, AI represents a considerable promise to transform many industries, including pharma and biotech.
The previous year was rich in discussions and events one way or another related to potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) advances for the benefit of drug discovery and development.
(Note: For the sake of simplicity, the term “AI” will be applied herein interchangeably with terms like “machine learning” (ML), “deep learning” (DL), “neural networks” (NN) etc., although conceptually, those terms are quite different in meaning. The term AI describes a field of computer science studying how to make a computer intelligent at doing something, while terms like ”machine learning”, “deep learning”, and “neural networks” relate to algorithms and methods by which it can be achieved.).
Without a doubt, the area of artificial intelligence (AI) has been a sensation lately -- judging by the amount of hype around this topic. But the hype is not a guarantee of a real breakthrough, which is defined by facts and measurable achievements, not just loud statements.
The fact is, however, AI-driven systems managed to learn chess at a champion level in just 4 hours, and beat human champions in Jeopardy, and Go -- we all know that. And Facebook can recognize faces in a blurry photo where you are hanging out with a bunch of friends -- not worse than you (human) can do. You can try and see it for yourself anytime -- it works!