AI and genomics futures

Current Project

Current joint project with the Ada Lovelace Institute

This joint project explores how AI is transforming the capabilities and practice of genomic science, and what such a transformation could mean for people and society.
Colorful DNA profile

Project aims

AI and genomics futures aims to investigate two broad questions concerning the development, proliferation, and impact of new and emerging genomic capabilities made possible by AI.

1 – How are advances in artificial intelligence (and especially machine learning and deep learning) changing the capabilities, applications, and practice of genomic science?

The project aims to develop a clearer understanding of:

  • What AI is enabling genomic science to do, or to do more effectively, and what improved or novel genomic capabilities AI might lead to in the future.
  • Current, emerging, and predicted applications of these new capabilities.
  • How, if at all, the increasing relevance of AI to genomics is changing the way genomic science is conducted, the data and expertise needed to conduct it, and the actors involved.

2 – What might be the potential societal and political impacts of these trends, capabilities, and applications?

Focusing on a 5-10 year time horizon, the project will explore the potential impacts of new and emerging capabilities to sequence, analyse, and understand the human genome, and how these may affect:

  • Different groups within society, and how the risks and benefits of these technologies are likely to be allocated.
  • Current and future distributions of economic and political power.
  • The delivery of healthcare; the boundary between healthcare and other domains of life; and the relationship between the citizen, state, and private sector in healthcare and broader public service provision.

It will also explore how these outcomes will be affected by uncertain factors, such as data protection norms and rules, ownership of genomic capacity, and advances in and public attitudes towards gene editing technologies.

Methodology

The project is divided into two phases:

  1. A research phase, which will explore the first overarching question through reviewing existing academic and grey literature, bibliometric analysis, engagement with experts, and horizon scanning exercises.
  2. An exploration phase, which will interrogate the second overarching question by employing futures mapping techniques, deliberative public engagement, and policy development and analysis.
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