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Lisa Jarvis

Confronting AI’s Potential to Create New Chemical Weapons

Although the immediate danger seems minimal, efforts are needed to safeguard machine-learning models used in drug discovery.

Not what biotech AI is meant to create. 

Not what biotech AI is meant to create. 

Photographer: Nigel Treblin/Getty Images

AI has become one of the buzziest of biotech buzzwords. Venture capital and public funding have flooded into companies using machine learning to speed the search for and manufacture of new drugs.

Now a team of researchers has raised alarms about the potential for this artificial-intelligence technology to be used for wrongdoing — most distressingly, to discover new, scarier chemical weapons.