A robot scientist
More robots in the news! This time a robot scientist (!) is in the spotlight:
A robot scientist that can generate its own hypotheses and run experiments to test them has made its first real scientific discoveries.
Dubbed Adam, the robot is the handiwork of researchers at Aberystwyth University and the University of Cambridge in the UK. All by itself it discovered new functions for a number of genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, aka brewer’s yeast.
In all, Adam formulated and tested 20 hypotheses about genes coding for 13 enzymes. Twelve hypotheses were confirmed. For instance, Adam correctly hypothesised that three genes it identified encode an enzyme important in producing the amino acid lysine. The researchers confirmed Adam’s work with their own experiments.
The team is now working on a new robot, called Eve, which will search for new drugs.
All of this, done without human help. At one point in time, the design, execution and analysis of the same research — performed by a human — would have been equivalent to earning a PhD thesis.
What next? Robots capable of self-replication?