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Becoming Superhuman: AI's Role in Genetic Freedom and Body Autonomy
Uniting Science and Silicon in the Lab
We’ve seen this already, in the fast-evolving landscape of biotech, AI is emerging as the new kid in town, not only because of its transformative force, propelling the industry toward an exciting future where the boundaries between biology and technology will start to blur. But also because of the HYPE it currently carries no doubt it will bring in investors back into biotech and hopefully not suffer a colossal meltdown due to miserable media-friendly scammer who damned an entire industry from receiving easy investment and increasing the barriers of entry and the burden of proof. Which in the short run is a squeeze but will probably work out for the best in the long run.
As AI continues to revolutionize various sectors, its integration into biotech promises groundbreaking advancements, from personalized medicine to human genetic engineering. It is incredibly beautiful to see that there might be a future sooner rather than later in which humanity has morphological, biological, and genetic freedom over their bodies. To express themselves and thrive in this everchanging world modifying what they see fit and overcoming so many challenges and ailments plaguing us as a species.
Is this trend that new?
Now, even though we’ve talked about how AI is dominating the public conversation and everyone and their grandmother wants to integrate AI into their industry regardless of any previous trial run, or knowledge about it. Of course, Biotech and the overall larger field of human health will benefit greatly from the integration and implementation of more AI systems into its development. But, most of these suggestions are starting to make a lot of noise now, but they aren’t at all something new.
The integration of AI systems into drug discovery or diagnostics has been a tried and true experimentation that has waltzed in and out of the limelight since the 1970s. This is thanks to the trend of AI research called “expert systems” These consisted of computer-based programs that utilize knowledge and rules to simulate human expertise in a specific domain and provide intelligent solutions or recommendations. It was a very early stage of AI using these models but it lead to some interesting experiments and results no doubt.
One case for these expert systems in healthcare was Mycin, an early and influential expert system developed in the 1970s at Stanford University. It was designed to assist in diagnosing and recommending treatments for infectious diseases, particularly bacterial infections (hence the name). Mycin was fed with a deep knowledge base consisting of rules and data based on expert medical knowledge. By asking the system a series of questions and reasoning through the provided information, Mycin could generate recommendations for antibiotics and dosages demonstrating the potential of expert systems in the medical field and highlighting their ability to provide diagnostic assistance and treatment suggestions based on a set of predefined rules and knowledge.
AI Empowering Genetic Engineering: Unlocking Human Potential
As we’ve previously discussed in past articles, Human genetic modification is going to be a thing that will accompany us and will benefit humanity greatly. Helping us to cure diseases and other ailments that are currently creating incredible amounts of human suffering to the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide with some genetic disease. Also, their families, support networks, and the excess resources in healthcare being spent now on those people because of the lack of treatment could be saved and used for other problems or other people afflicted by different ailments.
But besides the short-term view of curing life-destroying diseases, we have to peer a bit further and see the possibilities that unfurl to us beyond curing diseases, but I say let us also focus on expanding and growing the genetic diversity and freedom of humans. Alongside AI tools in a short while no doubt we could understand and envision more clearly the mysteries of the human genome. It could also help us to bring genetic freedom for individuals, where no longer what the draw of the genetic dice is no longer the end of our capabilities and potentiality in this life.
What will this mean for the industry as a whole?
As some people know I founded and lead a biotech company for 6 years alongside a team of brilliant scientists that to this day are beautiful humans that I am grateful to have in my life. And comparing how the state of affairs was in 2014 when we founded our company and how the world is today it looks like a completely different world almost. The diversity and capabilities of AI-driven tools available to researchers is a great leap forward that could have helped us save months of research, and so much money on resources experiments, supplies, and other stuff that today can be streamlined and accelerated thanks to the advances in AI.
So I cannot even fathom how it is inside the labs of well-funded companies or startups with world-class scientists working alongside amazing AI tools for High-Throughput-Experimentation. Or even more basic examples such as AI tools to help rummage through references and other people’s research to grapes quick conclusions and insightful knowledge without wasting time on tedious tasks. Also, AI assistance for imagery on experimental results could lead to easier and faster identification of results during an experiment.
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And so many others that’s the thing almost ANY part of the research process in biotechnology( and probably in almost any hard scientific field is going on through a similar process) is finding uses and ways to collaborate and accelerate its throughput with the use of AI tools now for some tedious tasks but slowly but surely the rise of AI-assisted research and development will be a main part of more and more companies.
It is an interesting thing to see how the maxim said by Marc Andreessen in 2011 is coming to fruition software (or AI) is eating the world, the parts eaten by it will be more efficient faster, and more productive because of the integration of these technologies. So let us embrace the coming wave of technological and healthcare advances that are no doubt coming in HOT from the pipeline.
Will the regulatory pipeline be able to handle it?
One of the if not the greatest hurdle in the development of almost any, drug, medical device, biological procedure, or anything that might come from a lab targeted towards human healthcare will be regulation and approval. And, don’t get me wrong I am not going to go into some sort of libertarian paradise-like opinion now, no, I do believe the level of difficulty of approving a new drug discovery or a new vaccine or something similar because of the safety concerns is good. But, I do see that this has been a bottleneck that prevents life-saving treatments to reach their desired audience. This also prevents damaging drugs to be put on the market which might cause damage or even death to many of its patients.
Now, this isn’t a perfect system, we have seen drugs that have ravaged entire nations with addiction and overdose problems approved by the FDA such as Fentanyl, and now one of the greatest fuel to the fire of the opioid crisis that is ravaging the US and other countries. But then again, if even with the current levels drugs like this were approved do we need to go even tougher and after even more? Or should we loosen up because we are so restrictive that the effects on safety are marginal while we leave out more lifesaving technologies than opioid crises?
SO will regulatory institutions such as the FDA in the US or EMA in Europe will need to also increase their use of AI tools for evaluating vetting and eventually approving discoveries treatments and drugs, because if the projections are true about the coming wave of new drug discoveries done by companies both big and small in this field if we don’t change and adapt how we demand form these companies a safe product that can reach the end user we will because unnecessary human suffering for millions of people waiting for a life-changing product. But also if not we could be unleashing another pandemic or another opioid crisis at an alarming rate. So the challenge for those on the other side is of paramount importance. Hopefully, what happened during COVID times that showed us that regulatory institutions can be flexible and fast is a lesson to be learned and applied for future development as well.
And just as a fresh-out-of-the-oven piece of news the FDA has approved Neuralink for their first human clinical trials where they will test their technology for connecting a human brain to a neural implant which might be the first steps towards better integration of biological and synthetic systems and eventually of collaborating intelligence. This is somewhat a showing that hopefully, regulatory institutions can catch up to the advancing rate of technological development. Though the big wave of AI-assisted development remains to be seen and felt.
What should we look out for?
The fusion of AI and biotech is thrusting us forward into a future where human potential and technological advancements transcend our expectations and the limitations of our preconceived notions. The revolutionary power of AI in drug discovery, precision medicine, and genetic engineering, promises a world where personalized treatments and enhanced human capabilities become a reality uplifting millions out of misery and into a more full life. Genetic freedom is a short step away for humanity and in the coming decades we might see this become a reality.
However, we must navigate the ethical challenges that will undoubtedly pop up. We have to ensure transparency and accountability and address societal disparities to harness the full potential of this remarkable synergy. Empowering as much of humanity as possible instead of only further accelerating those ahead and leaving the rest of us behind.
As we embark on this fantastic voyage toward the future, it is crucial for policymakers, researchers, and society as a whole to collaborate and steer this revolution toward a future that benefits us all. Embracing the possibilities while mitigating the risks, we can forge a path to a better future that enriches lives and transforms our world.