Artificial intelligence suggests 40,000 chemical weapons in six hours

Six o’clock. That’s how long it took a drug-development artificial intelligence (AI) to create nearly 40,000 potentially deadly molecules. Calm down, nothing is produced, it’s just the result of a search. However, it is frightening to know how we can abuse technology to develop easily powerful chemical weapons.




VX is the most dangerous chemical ever developed for warfare

VX is the most dangerous chemical ever developed for warfare

Photo: Sonika Agarwal / Unsplash / Tecnoblog

This is a study conducted by scientists and researchers who presented their findings at a conference on biological weapons control. An article was also published this March in the scientific journal Intelligence of natural machines.

The authors of the research reprogrammed the methodology of an AI aimed at developing pharmacologically useful drugs, setting it to do the exact opposite. It would be a simulation of what, under hostile intentions, humanity could accomplish if you wanted. The result is really scary.

In just six hours of treatment, reprogrammed AI succeeded develop nearly 40,000 toxic molecules. Some of them even approached or even exceeded the dangerousness of the so-called VX, considered the most powerful nerve agent ever created as a chemical weapon.

AI could be used for chemical warfare



Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence

Photo: Pixabay / Geralt / Tecnoblog

At first, even the researchers had no idea of ​​the magnitude of their discovery. The study was only carried out following an invitation from the Convergence Conference of the Swiss Federal Institute for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection. The idea of ​​the meeting is to inform the wider community of new developments with tools that could have implications for the Chemical and Biological Weapons Convention.

In an interview with The edge, Fabio Urbina, lead author of the paper and also a senior scientist at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, said they intend to talk about machine learning and how this technology can be misused in this field. . He explained that, for this, they reversed the traditional method of AI which avoided the creation of any potentially toxic component for another who was only looking for it.

“We weren’t really sure what we were going to get. Our generative models are relatively new technologies, so we haven’t used them much. But the biggest surprise was that many of the compounds generated had to be even more toxic. than VX.”

The researcher added, saying that the result was really disturbing because VX itself is already lethal in very small quantities. However, recent AI technology used in the investigation revealed that we can create even worse thingsand very easily.

“To me, the biggest concern was how easy it is to do this. Many things we use are available for free. You can download a toxicity dataset from anywhere,” the scientist said.

“If you have someone who knows how to code in Python and has machine learning capabilities, you could probably do something like this in a weekend.”

Fabio Urbina, Principal Scientist at Collaborations Pharmaceuticals

Urbina says that even in the face of all that has been found, he doesn’t want to cause panic. In fact, the publication of the research was intended to warn the scientific community about the potentially dangerous uses of artificial intelligence and machine learning in chemistry.

“I don’t want to be alarmist saying there will be AI-led chemical warfare. I don’t think that’s the case right now. I don’t think it will be anytime soon. But it’s is something it’s starting to become a possibility.”

With information: The edge

Artificial intelligence suggests 40,000 chemical weapons in six hours

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