DailyPost 2784

If someone were to ask you what all electricity can do, or provide power to, one would have a counter question, what all it doesn’t. This is the story of a general-purpose technology or utility, it cuts across all our needs and reaches a point that it permeates into everything and without which nothing can be done. If data is the new oil, then Artificial Intelligence, AI, is the new electricity. This will help us to understand the age we are getting into and the impact and its repercussions for mankind. We will discover today one of the least heard of use cases in the making.

With all the noise and fury of a breakthrough, LLMs for the wider audience are still limited to providing a workable answer to quite a few of our queries and provide the sources thereof. Otherwise, the use cases are still very limited and creating one would need a huge amount of effort. In this backdrop entering drug discovery is very welcome and has a promise to change that world, and as a direct corollary to the health of mankind at a momentous pace. A recent Bloomberg report unravels it all. It is headlined, DeepMind CEO targets $100 billion plus AI drug Discovery Business with AlphaFold.

What does AlphaFold do? It is landmark tool for predicting protein structures. It thus propels AI software to make breakthroughs in biology research. DeepMind released AlphaFold in 2018, to sort out a problem often compared with mapping the human genome. In its third generation AlphaFold can “model a range of molecular structures, including DNA and RNA, and predict how they interact with each other.” DeepMind CEO Hassabis says that to understand biology you need to think about different biological molecules. He claims AlphaFold 3 is a big step in that direction. Isomorphic Labs was created three years ago to commercialise DeepMind’s AI for drug discovery.

This scientific process would provide a critical insight into the kinds of chemical compounds used in designing and testing new medicines, including vaccines. By now you would be convinced of the fact that AI in medicine is a hot field. What can be the magic formula? The belief is that software algorithms can find and “help develop new drugs at drastically lower costs and much faster than the decades it can take now.” Pharmaceutical companies, venture capitalists and tech giants like Nvidia were already in the fray to tap what is likely to become a $50 billion market. The tech in question still has to show major clinical successes. Is it round the corner?

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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