In 2016, artificial intelligence (AI) beat the world champion in the Go game. For context, Go was previously believed to require excessive human intelligence for a computer to succeed in, and as a result, it was a North Star for AI.
Researchers even tried and failed to create an AI system that could defeat humans in the game for years. Until AlphaGo.
In 2016, AlphaGo, an AI platform led by Google''s DeepMind, not only beat its champion human counterpart (Lee Sedol); it showed that devices might find playing strategies no human would come up with. This was a mistake for human experts, which after AlphaGo played it, stunned and confused Lee and all onlookers and world experts. It ultimately led to the technologys triumph during that game.
AI vs. cancer: In search of Move 37
In this context, the Go game demonstrated that AI might and should assist humanity to come up with the Move 37 as a way to deal with significant real-world issues, such as cancer.
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The proverbial divide between the human immune system and cancer is a particular component of a game. If cancer is the immune system''s cops, it is like a mobster who is attempting to escape capture. While cancer is busy developing subversion, deception, and destruction.
Let data augment our intuition
These years, scientists and doctors operated heavily in the dark when it came to treatment of diseases, and remained solely dependent on their intuition. Today, humanity is uniquely positioned to fully utilize available resources with advancements in high throughput and measurement of biological data. We can now create AI models and use every bit of available data to enable these AIs to grow our innate intelligence.
Consider the case of CAR-T cells blended with CRISPR (a genetic editing technology) to create a promising therapeutic option in treating cancer. Many current and previous therapies in the field relyed on a single researcher or academic group intuition to select genes to test edit. In this case, genes were not compared head-to-head, and a lot of human intuition was required to proceed.
With advances in high-throughput single-cell CRISPR sequencing methods, we are approaching the possibility of simply testing all genes simultaneously on the same footing and in several experimental scenarios. This makes the data a better fit for AI, and in this case, we have the possibility of letting AI assist us in choosing genes that look most promising to modify in patients to fight their cancer.
The ability to conduct extensive AI experiments and generate data for the treatment of cancer is a game-changer. Biology and disease are so complex that current and future methods, driven largely by human intuition, are the best approaches. In fact, we anticipate that in the next ten years, we will have an equivalent of a Move 37 against cancer: a therapy that, at first, may seem counterintuitive (and that human intuition would not arrive) but that, in the end, shocks us all and wins the game for patients.
Luis Voloch is the CEO of Immunai, which has been founded by Luis Voloch.