La máquina de curar

VIRGINIA BEACH – El año pasado, el Premio Nobel de Medicina fue para un descubrimiento que demandó 44 años de desarrollo y en el que trabajaron dos equipos de investigación distintos. Se trata de un avance revolucionario que promete abrir nuevas posibilidades de diagnóstico y tratamiento. ¿Y si en vez de demorar décadas, esta clase de descubrimientos se pudiera hacer en minutos, con la ayuda de computadoras? El caso de un nuevo coronavirus que apareció hace poco y mató a nueve personas en el Reino Unido y en Oriente Próximo nos recuerda lo urgente que puede ser a veces la necesidad de desarrollar tratamientos nuevos.

Una solución a este problema sería crear modelos basados en abstracciones diferentes para construir sistemas de inteligencia artificial (IA) capaces de diseñar terapias nuevas. Estos sistemas entenderían las enfermedades en modos que a los seres humanos nos resulta difícil imaginar y podrían hallar soluciones inesperadas y eficaces. Pero la idea parece de ciencia ficción: es bien sabido que la IA no es particularmente inteligente.

Para crear “máquinas de curar” se necesitaría al menos una innovación trascendente: encontrar un modo mejor de modelizar el comportamiento global de los sistemas. Si lo halláramos, tanto la biología como la informática ganarían nuevas herramientas conceptuales.

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