AI and genomics futures
Current joint project with the Ada Lovelace Institute
In August 2023, we published a report, DNA.I., which shares early findings from our joint project with the Ada Lovelace Institute.
This project is investigating the ethical, social, and political economy issues arising from the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to genomics - or 'AI-powered genomics’ - which are set to be two of the most transformative technologies of the 21st century.
In recent years, these two technologies have become more and more intertwined, with many new advances in genomics having been made possible by the deployment of AI, and with genomic data increasingly being used and sought after to train AI systems.
The convergence of AI and genomics is poised to have a significant impact on medical research, healthcare, and societies across the globe. But it also presents new challenges for policymakers seeking to understand, regulate and manage the societal effects of these technologies.
This report summarises findings from the scoping phase of AI and genomics futures. It identifies some of the likely applications of AI in genomics, the significant questions these could raise for policy makers and for those working in genomics and AI, and the evidence gaps that need addressing in order to help steer the development of these technologies in line with public values and priorities.
We note that there are many questions concerning the potential impacts of developments in AI-powered genomics that have yet to be adequately explored. Our early findings have helped us to identify ‘AI-powered genomic health prediction’ as an application that raises significant questions. This is the focus for the next phase of research in this project, which will be published in a final report in 2024.
Bringing in and drawing on expert insight and perspectives will be central to this project. We want to hear from people from different backgrounds, countries, and with different forms of expertise and insight into AI and genomics.
If you have expertise or experience of AI, genomics, or the intersection between the two, and who would potentially be interested in being involved with the project, please email Harry Farmer with the subject line ‘Interest in AI and Genomics project’, and include the following in your message:
- who you are,
- the nature of your insight or expertise in AI and genomics, and
- how you might like to be involved.
If you’re unsure of the potential ways to participate, let us know and we’d be happy to discuss.
Rebecca is responsible for the strategy, delivery, and quality assurance of our research and policy agenda.
Rebecca joins us from the British Medical Association’s ethics and human rights team. She is a member of the Lay Network of the Royal College of Pathologists, and a member of the Imperial College Science, Technology and Engineering Research Ethics Committee.
AI and genomics futures is a joint project between the Ada Lovelace Institute and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics that seeks to methodically investigate the ethical issues arising from this convergence. The project uses a variety of methods, ranging from research, futures thinking, and public engagement, to explore how AI is transforming the capabilities and practice of genomic science, and what such a transformation could mean for people and society. It is overseen by an external Advisory Board.