The downside of AI technology when used for drug research and development

Tram Ho

When it comes to using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to create new drugs, often the creation of drugs that can cure diseases is encouraged and celebrated, while those that cause toxicity are encouraged. for people will be punished and reprimanded.

However, what will happen when this conventional rule is reversed, the creation of drugs that are toxic to humans is applauded. Currently, with the power of computers, AI technology can completely be used to create these drugs, even biological weapons.

The truths about the duality of using AI technology to make medicines were discovered by a group of employees of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, based in North Carolina, USA. Specifically, at the “Biological and Chemical Weapons” conference, the attending scientists suspected that molecular models could be used for malicious purposes.

AI technology is trained using input data from various sources, from pesticides to toxic drugs that can be harmful to health, then it calculates to find the most toxic drug formulation. In just 6 hours, AI technology was able to find 40,000 different results.

Filippa Lentzos, moderator at the Center for Research in Science and Security at King’s College (London, UK), recalls the shivers felt in herself and the audience at the conference when Sean Ekins, the founder of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, published its research.

“It was an incredible moment,” she said. “Everybody thinks that the use of drugs for unethical purposes has been a concern for scientists. Now with AI technology, this fear is much bigger,” said Filippa Lentzos. let me know.

It is known that Ms. Lentzos collaborated with Mr. Ekins to write a report for the journal Nature Machine Intelligence. The results of the report show that some substances found by the AI ​​software are much more toxic than currently known biological weapons.

Because of the potential danger, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals has deleted these data libraries and is planning to limit the use of its own technology. The authors recommend that authorities should have a hotline to report suspected cases of unethical behavior.

Artificial intelligence technology will not produce molecules by itself, but provide mixed recipes to be able to create toxic drugs. Production can also be outsourced to commercial companies in the synthesis and manufacturing sectors, an industry that enjoys lax policies and little supervision.

Ms. Lentzos said that the knowledge of programming and chemistry to do unethical things is not for novices. However, creating these substances is not beyond the ability of an entire country. If these projects are in the works, that wouldn’t be a surprise.

Source: Financial Times

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