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A new antibiotic found by artificial intelligence

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Shedman, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

  2. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    That was the best news of the day yesterday when I saw that on The Guardian online. I’ve been increasingly concerned about the prospect of antibiotic-resistant bugs gaining the upper hand. This is a badly needed breakthrough.
    nomad likes this.
  3. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    It's good news in one level, but new antibiotics are being found all the time. Just about all of them turn out to be of no use in humans for one reason or another.
  4. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    It is excellent news, but we are going to have to look for alternatives to antibiotics.

    For example, the use of predatory bacteria such as Bdellovibrio which can prey on and destroy disease-causing gram-negative bacteria like pneumonia and plague.

    Another alternative is the use of bacteriophages (viruses which only attack bacteria). A good thing is that they are quite specific, so for example, a streptococcus bacteriophage will only kill bacteria that cause streptococcal vocal throat infections and leave our essential 'good' bacteria alone.
    border_walker and bonxie like this.
  5. theworm123

    theworm123 Lead commenter

    I’m by no means an expert on medical applications of AI, but a layman’s overview of how this works they used a machine learning algorithm called an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) which is modelled after neutrons in a brain and how they interact, for example each node in an ANN is equivalent to a brain neuron and they pass signals to each other just like synapses between neurons in an animal brain. An algorithm can seem as being a set of instructions to follow, this is what computer code is.

    All of the bacteria the scientist wanted to test are stored in a dataset which contains specific characteristics of the bacteria, this is what the ANN uses to ‘learn’. For the ANN to learn it needs to be trained, the dataset is split into two samples, one sample will be used to train the ANN and the other will be used to test it.

    Once the training and testing is complete and the scientists satisfied with the output, the ANN can be used for experiments such as the testing. At this point the scientists would have fed the ANN a list of bacteria and using what it ‘learned’ during the training phase, the ANN can classify the bacteria in the list by how well they would work. Classification means that it can make a binary decision, for example yes it could kill a virus or no it couldn’t.
  6. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    I heard on Radio 4 that a lab was testing AI analysis of cells for cancer. The cells were placed on slides and read by AI. All the slides came back as positive for cancer. Later it was discovered that a ruler placed alongside the slides triggered the AI to detect "cancerous cells". When the AI read "ruler" it detected "cancer".
  7. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    I wish some of you would talk to a few of our GPs. When they prescribe antibiotics for certain conditions and you query whether it is really necessary, and get told 'Doc knows best', it's quite annoying when you are sent back again to see a different GP who tells you that you shouldn't have had the antibiotics, and haven't you seen all the adverts telling you they aren't needed in most cases-it's annoying.
  8. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    If you want to know the truth behind why you can suffer with a condition your GP struggles to help you with, but a hospital can resolve in a couple of days, it all boils down to how much technology is available.

    When I worked in medical technology, Britain was as good as anywhere else in being at the forefront, but daft politics made it impossible to remain there. The medical technologists I worked with can't be replaced as they die off, because schools stopped teaching the sort of technology it needs when the Wicked Witch of Westmister was voted in. The stuff I learned at school was replaced by teaching kids how to knit cuddly toys and design board games. At the time, some ***** thought the machinery my generation and those that preceded it diced with death with, was far too dangerous for kids to use, so it was all scrapped.

    Later, when the mistake was realised, because industry didn't need that many kids skilled in knitting cuddly toys, they took the leap of imagination that since the future would be computerised manufacture, they spent a fortune on vesting in CNC machinery, which teachers who'd grown up learning how to make cuddly toys well were supposed be teaching the next generation how to use, but never gave them time off timetable to be trained themselves how to use.

    Medical technology is one of the biggest and most profitable industries that exist, yet our succesive governments have never been able to grasp that to be a player in it, you have to teach kids about technology and you won't find a word about in the sodding King James Bible that Gove so kindly spent taxpayers money on and personally signed every copy he ordered so that every school in the country could own a single copy of.

    I wonder where they are now or how many of them have been read? It might be worth asking if you school stil has it and offering a couple of bob for it as an investment for your grandchildren to realise when the final vestiges of the British empire get sold off and even the British Museum ends up in a yard sale auction.

    Someone will want to own a piece of the history that led to Britain's final demise. What better example might a poor teacher be able to be able to pass onn to their grandchildren to help them out with a pension than a book, signed with the very ink, from the very pen that one of the architects of Britain's demise used?

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