The Singularity Hub is reporting on a genetic discovery brought to you entirely by Adam, a robot at Aberystwyth University in Wales that can conduct its own experiments. Not just that, Adam actually invents its own experiments and defines how to perform each study. After carrying out the task Adam analyzes the data, providing scientists (we’ll still call them that) with easily verifiable results.
Some details of Adam’s first discovery from Singularity Hub:
His developers introduced him to a yeast genetics mystery that had eluded discovery for quite some time. As with all living organisms, yeast have proteins called enzymes that catalyze many of the chemical reactions necessary for life to occur. Each of these enzymes is encoded in the yeast’s genome, but a few of these enzymes were difficult to link to particular genes. For decades, geneticists had toiled to figure out which genes encode a few of these “orphan” enzymes.
Dr. King and colleagues gave Adam a database containing information on the enzymes, the chemicals and reagents to do the experiments, and access to the yeast cultures. After that, a human technician only came around to refill the necessary reagents and remove the waste products generated from the experiments (evidently, Adam is unable to perform those lowly tasks!). So what did Adam find? After multiple rounds of experimentation and analysis, Adam found exactly which yeast genes encode which “orphan” enzymes! The human scientists then went to work to verify his findings by doing the experiments manually. Eureka! Adam had indeed solved the problem!
Here’s a video about Adam:
Read on at Singularity Hub: Adam The Robot Scientist Makes Its First Discovery…
Abstract in Science: The Automation of Science…