by Monica G
Artificial intelligence has been around for ages. This article refers to a new robot named, Adam. It is able to perform experiments from start to finish without the need of human intervention. Adam was able to identity three genes that when coded together created a desirable orphan enzyme found in baker’s yeast. The reason the experiment was even started was because scientist know a lot about yeast but there is about 6000 genes whose functions are still unknown. And considering this is the best understood organisms, this discovery is very important. The sole reason this discovery is monumental is because the entire experiment was done alone. Most of the time, scientist are the ones creating the hypothesis and robots tend to only contribute the numbers and “dirty” work. Adam’s creator Ross King from Aberystwyth University of Wales says that this is just the first step forward. A different version of Adam is already in the works, Eve. This robot will be able to complete entire experiments but it will be targeted for tests dealing with malaria and other diseases.
This article does not seem to be relative to the class, but the back drop of Adam is referenced to a database of genes. Before the experiment with Baker’s yeast started Adam was equipped with a database full of all the known genes and sequences of yeast. Without it Adam would have never been able to test his theory against all known data. So here is a great way that two technologies have come together to work beautifully.
With technologies like Adam and Eve, where does that leave the regular researcher? What happens to their jobs and their hard work? What a robot does in two years, a person may take a lifetime to complete. This question is addressed in the article but nothing is for certain. It is true that a lot of the scientific discoveries are made by accident and now we have an easier and more solid way of doing things but where does that leave humans. Perhaps, scientists will have more free time to work on more demanding ideas but that is not for certain.
Buchen, L. (2009, April 2). Robot makes Scientific Discovery All by Itself. Retrieved October 30, 2011, from Wired Science: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/04/robotscientist/