As a practical example of the massive positive implications that Artificial Intelligence will have on industries and thus our lives, the subsidiary of Alphabet, DeepMind’s latest version of it’s AI system AlphaFold can now make accurate predictions of what shape a protein will form based on its sequence of amino acids. It solved the protein folding problem. I did some further digging into what this all meant, the significance of this scientific discovery and what the applications are for the future.
In other words it can compute the 3D structure of protein molecules. Interactions between chemicals known as amino acids make the protein fold, as it finds its shape out of almost limitless possibilities. For decades, scientists have been trying to find a method to reliably determine a protein’s structure just from its sequence of amino acids. DeepMind trained AlphaFold on the sequences and structures of 100,000+ proteins mapped out by scientists around the world. It can now accurately predict a protein’s shape from its sequence of amino acids — unlocking key information that many have sought to understand for years.
This is the type of breakthrough in AI and computing that can revolutionize an entire scientific field like biology overnight by vastly accelerating medical research, drug discovery and drug design curing previously thought intractable diseases, which can make the quality of our health and lives vastly better.
Recently DeepMind has also shared it’s AlphaFold methods on GitHub as open-source code to encourage research.