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ProGen AI just successfully imitated human evolution

Published Jan 31st, 2023 3:26PM EST
evolution of mankind
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Artificial intelligence has seen a huge surge of popularity in recent months, even years, and with programs like ChatGPT continuing to dominate headlines of the news cycle and other parts of life, A.I. is here to stay. Now, in a shocking experiment, researchers have managed to use A.I. to imitate human evolution, and the results may be even better than reality.

Now, I should be clear here, we aren’t talking about A.I. making some insane superhuman or anything. This isn’t the plot of a Terminator movie, though scientists have created liquifying robots like the ones seen in some Terminator flicks. Instead, we’re talking about A.I. imitating human evolution by designing sequences of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins.

The researchers were then able to compare those A.I.-created proteins with those made by nature throughout humanity’s evolution, and the discovery was pretty staggering. The scientists published their findings in the journal Nature Biotechnology, which outlines how A.I. was able to imitate human evolution.

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A.I. is becoming increasingly more impressive as scientists find new ways to use it to their advantage. Image source: phonlamaiphoto/Adobe

They didn’t create an entirely new A.I. to pull this off. Instead, they used an already existing language model. The researchers used ProGen, a natural language model created by Salesforce. Thus, the A.I. that imitated human evolution wasn’t very different from ChatGPT and other language models, which makes this discovery even more impressive.

The researchers began by training ProGen on 280 million proteins. From here, the A.I. was “iteratively optimized by learning to predict the probability of the next amino acid given the past amino acids in a raw sequence,” the paper explains. Ultimately, the team focused on five specific artificial proteins, which is what helped make it possible for A.I. to imitate human evolution so effectively.

What might be even more impressive is that Salesforce estimates that around 73 percent of the proteins created by ProGen could function, compared to just 59 percent of natural proteins. As such, it appears the A.I. was able to detect evolutionary patterns and even imitate human evolution despite the fact it had not been designed for that kind of work.

Other A.I., like ChatGPT, have also continued to awe the masses, with Congressmen even using ChatGPT to write legislation. With A.I. so successful, it isn’t hard to see why some scientists believe A.I. will destroy mankind.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.