Protein folding, essential for life, is immensely complex in a specified way:
Gilder notes that when DeepMind’s AlphaGo beat humans at the board game Go in 2016, it wasn’t just for the fun of winning a game. DeepMind cofounder Demis Hassabis (pictured in 2018) is more interested in real-life uses such as medical research (p. 11). The human body is very complex and a researcher can be confronted with thousands of possibilities. Which ones matter?
The area the DeepMind team decided to focus on is protein folding: Human DNA has 64 codons that program little machines in our cells (ribosomes) to create specific proteins out of the standard twenty amino acids. But, to do their jobs, the proteins fold themselves into many, many different shapes. Figuring it all out is a real problem for researchers and the DeepMind crew hope that AI will help:News, “If AlphaFold is a product of design, maybe our bodies are too” at Mind Matters News
AlphaFold beat all the humans in 2019 just because it could handle the calculations. That’s what computers do.
But now, here’s the question: We are told by many philosophers that life came to exist on Earth purely by chance. How likely is that, given the intricacy of the machinery that governs our bodies, such that someone needs to design AlphaFold to figure it out?