Wednesday, 30 November 2022 to Thursday, 1 December 2022

Automating Science using Robot Scientists

Thu1  Dec09:35am(45 mins)
Plenary Keynote:
Prof Ross King


A Robot Scientist is a physically implemented robotic system that applies techniques from artificial intelligence to execute cycles of automated scientific experimentation. A Robot Scientist can automatically execute cycles of hypothesis formation, selection of efficient experiments to discriminate between hypotheses, execution of experiments using laboratory automation equipment, and analysis of results. The motivation for developing Robot Scientists is to both to better understand the scientific method, and to make scientific research more efficient. The Robot Scientist ‘Adam’ was the first machine to autonomously discover scientific knowledge. The Robot Scientist ‘Eve’ was originally developed to automate early-stage drug development, with specific application to neglected tropical disease such as malaria, it is now working on anti-COVID drugs. I am now working on Genesis, a third-generation Robot Scientist designed to work on yeast systems biology. Genesis will be able to run 10,000 cycles of hypothesis-led experiment in parallel per day. In the future I believe that it is likely that advances in AI and lab automation will drive the development of ever-smarter Robot Scientists. Therefore, I am co-organising the ‘Nobel Turing Challenge’ to develop: AI Robots capable of making Nobel- quality scientific discoveries highly autonomously at a level comparable, and possibly superior, to the best human scientists by 2050.

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