Adam: The First Robot Scientist

Posted 4 Apr 2009 at 20:56 UTC by steve Share This

Lots of readers are sending links to the announcement of the first known instance in which a machine has discovered new scientific knowledge on its own. Scientists at Aberystwyth University created an artificially intelligent machine, known as Adam for various reasons. The machine formed a theory about yeast enzyme genetics, made predictions from the theory, devised experiments to test the theory, ran the experiments using lab robotics, and interpreted the results. Adam recorded and documented the entire process in far more detail than human scientists are usually able to achieve. Humans scientists analyzed Adam's theory and manually conducted experiments confirming Adam's conclusion. Given how many humans seem unable to grasp how the scientific method works, it's pretty impressive news that even a primitive AI can handle it! The researchers are working on a second generation machine, named Eve, that they hope will be much more efficient than Adam. For more, see the Robot Scientist website, which includes many more photos and diagrams of Adam. There's also some video of Adam in action. For all the technical details see the paper, The Automation of Science (PDF format).

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