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AI and New Product Search: Accelerator for Innovation

By Dick Weisinger

In many fields product innovation has historically been one of trial and error. The classic example is Thomas Edison spending 1200 hours testing a range of filaments before finding the right one that could be used to charge an incandescent light bulb. The discovery of drugs and new materials fit into this category and often require significant investment dollars and extensive research and testing to be successful.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being developed that can assist and speed up the intensive search for innovative new drugs, materials, and products. AI is being used to assist and accelerate projects by helping identify and recommend candidate materials, approaches, and techniques.

Many fields are recognizing the power of AI. The use of computers to assist with research and product development has quickly gained traction. In 2021, 16 percent of materials science researchers were using AI. 19 percent of chemsitry researchers are extensive users, and even in Mathematics, 19 percent of researchers use AI techniques.

An announcement by IBM said that “over the last few years, we’ve seen that advances in deep-learning can dramatically accelerate the pace at which we can discover new molecules, materials, drugs, and more. These models, when trained effectively, can provide the spark of inspiration for uncovering molecular combinations that scientists may never have considered trying, or ideas that would’ve taken years to figure out. What in the past may have taken decades to discover can, in some cases, now be achieved in a matter of months.”

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