Scientists in chemistry sometimes take years to develop a new drug. Researchers at Glasgow University have developed a robot that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make new medicines. How can this robot help chemists?
Robot as a medicine man
The machine detects chemical reactions, which can lead to new drugs. With machine learning, results of chemical reactions can be predicted. The machine knows through experience with only a small part of the chemical interactions, what other chemical reactions will do. When 1000 possible chemical reactions are tested of 18 different chemicals, the machine only needs 100 reactions to be able to predict the other reactions. Four chemical reactions have been found, only by the machine. This will become more in the future.
This does not look like much, but it allows scientists to focus extra on the few reactions that come to mind. Eventually this can accelerate the development of new medicines. One of the scientists compares the AI robot with Columbus. This explorer saw land from afar, and sailed there. The machine sees the promising molecules, and focuses on this.
Faster and cheaper
There are extremely many molecules. These can all be searched and made. A robot chemist can speed up this process. This allows chemists to focus more on the chemical tasks, instead of doing a lot of manual work. A robot also makes the process safer and cheaper.
The robot really will not take the place of chemists. Man remains the expert and the robot helps with a hand.