AI in drug discovery – Advantages and disadvantages

Drug Discovery

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an important role in various fields of pharmacy like drug discovery, drug delivery formulation development, polypharmacology, hospital pharmacy, etc.

The drug discovery and drug delivery formulation development today employ various Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) like Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) or Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs).

Applying the deep learning software and computer-assisted design approaches, the structural characterization of drug molecules can directly or indirectly be analyzed in drug discovery. The synthesized drug molecules or collected drug compounds are subjected to high throughput screening in the primary assay. Then, these are counter screened and evaluated for their bioavailability in secondary assays and successful structure-activity relationship (SAR) analysis.

Drug discovery interchanges amongst induction and deduction processes. Thus, the interchangeable cycle of the inductive–deductive process ultimately guides the attainment of the optimized lead molecules. Automating specific portions of the inductive–deductive cycle decreases unpredictability and inaccuracy, thus improving the effectiveness of drug discovery procedures.

This post will explore some of the pros and cons of using AI technologies in drug discovery.

Advantages of AI technology

The potential advantages of AI technology are as follows:

  1. Error minimization: AI assists in decreasing the errors and increasing the accuracy with more precision. Intelligent robots are made of resistant metal bodies and capable of tolerating the aggressive atmospheric space; therefore, they are sent to explore space.
  2. Difficult exploration: AI exhibits its usefulness in the mining sector. It is also used in the fuel exploration sector. AI systems can investigate the ocean by defeating the errors caused by humans.
  3. Daily application: AI is very useful for our daily acts and deeds. For example, GPS is broadly used in long drives. Installation of AI in Androids helps predict what an individual will type. It also helps in the correction of spelling mistakes.
  4. Digital assistants: Nowadays, advanced organizations use AI systems like ‘avatar’ (models of digital assistants) to reduce human needs. The ‘avatar’ can follow the right logical decisions as these are emotionless. Human emotions and moods disturb judgment efficiency, and this problem can be overcome by using machine intelligence.
  5. Repetitive tasks: Human beings can generally perform a single task simultaneously. In contrast to human beings, machines can perform multitasking jobs and analyze more rapidly compared to human beings. Various machine parameters, i.e., speed and time, can be adjusted according to their requirements.
  6. Medical uses: In general, the physicians can assess the condition of patients and analyze the adverse effects and other health risks associated with the medication with the help of an AI program. Trainee surgeons can gather knowledge by applying AI programs like various artificial surgery simulators (gastrointestinal simulation, heart simulation, brain simulation, etc.
  7. No breaks: Unlike human beings who have the capacity of working for eight h/day with breaks, the machines are programmed in such a way that they are capable of performing the work continuously for long hours, devoid of any kinds of confusion and boredom.
  8. Increase technological growth rate: AI technology is widely used in most advanced technological innovations worldwide. It is capable of producing different computational modeling programs and aims for the invention of newer molecules. AI technology is also being used in the development of drug delivery formulations.
  9. No risk: In the case of working at a risky zone like fire stations, there are huge chances of causing harm to the personnel engaged. For the machine learning programs, if some mishap happens, then broken parts can be repairable.
  10. Acts as aids: AI technology has played a different function by serving children and elders on a 24×7 basis. It can perform as a teaching and learning source for all.
  11. Limitless functions: Machines are not restricted to any boundaries. Emotionless machines can do everything more efficiently and produce more accurately than human beings.

Disadvantages of AI technology

The important disadvantages of AI technology are as follows:

  1. Expensive: The launch of AI causes huge money consumption. Complex designing of the machine, maintenance, and repair are highly cost-effective. For designing one AI machine, a long period is required by the R&D division. AI machine needs to update the software programs regularly. The reinstallations, as well as recovery of the machine, consume a long time and huge money.
  2. No replicating humans: Robots with AI technology are associated with the power of thinking like humans and being emotionless. These add some advantages to performing the given task more accurately without any judgment. If unfamiliar problems arise, robots cannot decide and provide a false report.
  3. No improvement with experience: Human resources can be improved with experiences. In contrast, machines with AI technology cannot be enhanced with experience. They cannot identify which individual is hard-working and which one is nonworking.
  4. No original creativity: Machines with AI technology have neither sensitivity nor emotional intelligence. Humans can hear, see, feel and think. They can use their creativity as well as thoughts. These features are not achievable by the use of machines.
  5. Unemployment: The widespread use of AI technology in all sectors may cause large-scale unemployment. Because of undesirable unemployment, human workers may lose their working habits and creativity.


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