Four ways that AI and robotics are helping to transform other research fields

Article by Michael Eisenstein: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is already proving a revolutionary tool for bioinformatics; the AlphaFold database set up by London-based company DeepMind, owned by Google, is allowing scientists to predict the structures of 200 million proteins across 1 million species. But other fields are benefiting too. Here, we describe the work of researchers pursuing cutting-edge AI and robotics techniques to better anticipate the planet’s changing climate, uncover the hidden history behind artworks, understand deep sea ecology and develop new materials.

Marine biology with a soft touch

It takes a tough organism to withstand the rigours of deep-sea living. But these resilient species are also often remarkably delicate, ranging from soft and squishy creatures such as jellyfish and sea cucumbers, to firm but fragile deep-sea fishes and corals. Their fragility makes studying these organisms a complex task.

The rugged metal manipulators found on many undersea robots are more likely to harm such specimens than to retrieve them intact. But ‘soft robots’ based on flexible polymers are giving marine biologists such as David Gruber, of the City University of New York, a gentler alternative for interacting with these enigmatic denizens of the deep…(More)”.