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DeepMind co-founder: Gaming inspired AI breakthrough

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Summary | 8 Annotations
Gaming inspired Demis Hassabis, the co-founder of DeepMind, to use artificial intelligence for a recent scientific breakthrough.
2020/12/02 14:53
Dr Andriy Kryshtafovych, from the University of California, who has scrutinised the project, has described the achievement as "truly remarkable"."Being able to investigate the shape of proteins quickly and accurately has the potential to revolutionise life sciences," he said.
2020/12/02 14:53
Proteins are essential to almost every function in your body. And they're essential to all organisms. And the function of a protein depends on its 3D shape.And there's been a long-standing more than 50-year-old grand challenge in science, which is can you go from the amino acid sequence - which is like a genetic sequence of letters that describes a protein - can you just from that one-dimensional letter sequence come up with a 3D structure?
2020/12/02 14:53
People speculated, very famously, in the 1970s, and earlier than that, that it should be possible to do that, in theory. And ever since then, for the last five decades, people have been trying to write programs and computational methods that would allow them to directly go from the sequence to the 3D structure. In essence, it's that problem that we solved with Alpha Fold now.
2020/12/02 14:53
Firstly, it was a fascinating use of games in science - and games is another one of my interests. But secondly, it kind of suggested to me that somehow these gamers had trained their intuition and their pattern-matching capabilities so that somehow they were able to do what brute-force computer systems couldn't at the time - and actually come up with the right shapes.
2020/12/02 14:53
The plan behind DeepMind was always to try to build artificial intelligence in a very general way - so, use inspiration from the way the brain works, I'd studied neuroscience as well as computer science, and try and fuse the ideas that we know from the brain and bring some of those ideas across into algorithms.
2020/12/02 14:54
Games is what was my first passion, if you like, and it's also what got me into AI indirectly.I started with playing chess for various England junior teams. And then, as part of that, we got a chess computer, very early on, that I used to train on. I think that started sparking off in in my mind ideas about how does the chess computer play chess and learning about that.
2020/12/02 14:54
And I'd also say if you compare it to a lot of other leisure pursuits, say like watching TV or something like that, I think it's a lot more of an active endeavour than that. It's a gateway. Many children start by playing games, like I did, and then getting into programming and then using this incredible tool, the computer, to create things.
2020/12/02 14:54