SQLServerCentral Editorial

A Strange AI Achievement

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We are seeing AI and ML becoming used in more and more industries, but one that seems to be a place where it is embraced with some success. From speech recognition and transcription to analyzing imaging, computers have helped medical professionals improve the care they give to patients.

Just as CAD has helped manufacturers, AI systems are being used in medical research, trying to model and screen medications to try and determine which ones are potentially useful in treating various diseases. We also have used them to better tailor treatments for certain diseases, like some cancers. It seems that applying computing against vast troves of data is proving itself beneficial.

What if an AI were able to develop something new and it were awarded the Nobel Prize? That's the premise in a scenario published in the Economist. The article opens with the controversy of how the guidelines for the prize are interpreted, paving the way to award the prize to the AI. Perhaps even more interesting in the scenario is that the effort is the result of a poor software upgrade that allowed the AI to read more medical papers that it was previous given access to examine.

It's an interesting idea. Who gets the credit? Certainly, the humans that help train the model and put it to work deserve some credit, but they are really the assistants. If they were to use the prize for more research, do we think they could replicate the innovation? Maybe it doesn't matter. Not many people win the Nobel prize twice. Perhaps using the prize to continue allowing the AI to conduct research would make the most sense, though I don't know if the humans around the system would accept that.

I don't think AI systems are more intelligent than humans, but they can consider and try more possibilities than humans, given enough data. They might notice something that we'd miss, and they can remain more focused on a problem than we can. After all, we need to rest and care for our bodies.

I don't know if this will happen in the 2030s, as the scenario imagines, but I do think this is a possibility as we start to use computing to search for new innovations in research. I just hope that as these discoveries take place, they are used to better the entire world, and not just enrich a few humans.

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