After big data, the phenomenon that has caused a stir in the scientific world is that of artificial intelligence (AI). In lay terms, AI usually refers to machines or devices that simulate human intelligence, and its advent and rapid development are revolutionizing the way research is being conducted. Particle physics is one of the first scientific fields that successfully used AI. “It took us several years to convince people that this is not just some magic, hocus-pocus, black box stuff,” says Boaz Klima, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, talking about her experience with using AI. Now, however, several fields such as astronomy and social sciences have embraced AI.
How can AI influence science and research? One of the most apparent benefits of AI is that it minimizes human effort. AI enables the analysis of large datasets and the identification of patterns in them, a task that can overwhelm humans on account of its magnitude. Thus it makes research conduction easier, giving researchers more time to focus on other mundane tasks like writing papers or applying for grants. At a macro level, however, AI can have a huge impact on a country’s economy. Digitalization and automatization can boost a nation’s economy by increasing its productivity and giving it an edge in innovation. Whether it is healthcare, manufacturing, scientific research, or warfare, AI has numerous potential applications. In other words, leadership in AI has the potential of giving an unprecedented advantage to a country.