Gairdner event explores a new era of AI in health and science

Organic chemistry

On October 24, during Gairdner Science Week 2023, Gairdner hosted an event at HotDocs Ted Rogers Cinema putting the spotlight on Google DeepMind Founder and CEO Dr. Demis Hassabis who delved into where we are with harnessing AI in health and science, where we are going and how to move forward in a responsible way.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a fundamental part of our every day lives and transformed the way many things are done. As we move toward a new era of AI, specifically in health and science, how do we do so in a responsible way?

Hassabis, a 2023 Canada Gairdner International Award winner, delivered a powerful keynote about the work his company Google DeepMind, the world’s leading AI research company, has done and is doing, including developing AlphaFold, heralded as an AI-based solution to the 50-year grand challenge of protein structure prediction and has culminated in the release of the most accurate and complete picture of the structure of the human proteome, with enormous potential to accelerate biological and medical research.

"I have a list of big scientific challenges I would like to tackle with AI that I have collected over the last 20 to 30 years and protein folding was always at the top of that list," said Hassabis.

Where is this all going? Hassabis says he likes to use the term "Science at digital speed" where AlphaFold is the first example and we will see more of this soon. His hope, he says, is that AlphaFold is heralding a new era of 'digital biology.' Biology at its most fundamental level is an information processing system. "It's an enormously complex and emergent system, but it might actually be the perfect type of regime for AI to be applied to," says Hassabis. 

"I hope that when we look back in maybe 10 years time, AlphaFold won't be an isolated success story but perhaps herald a new era of digital biology solutions."

Hassabis then sat down with Shingai Manjengwa, Head of AI Education at ChainML, for a fascinating fireside chat and Q&A to dive deeper into the topic.

Watch the full event recording below.

  • Dr. Demis Hassabis delivers keynote
  • Dr. Demis Hassabis delivers keynote
  • Demis Hassabis and Shingai Manjengwa in conversation
  • Demis Hassabis and Shingai Manjengwa in conversation
  • Q&A with Demis Hassabis and Shingai Manjengwa
  • Dr. Janet Rossant, Gairdner President and Scientific Director
  • L:R Heather Munroe-Blum; Demis Hassabis; Janet Rossant; Shingai Manjengwa
  • Audience at event
  • Audience at event
  • Dr. Demis Hassabis delivers keynote
  • Dr. Demis Hassabis delivers keynote
  • Demis Hassabis and Shingai Manjengwa in conversation
  • Demis Hassabis and Shingai Manjengwa in conversation
  • Q&A with Demis Hassabis and Shingai Manjengwa
  • Dr. Janet Rossant, Gairdner President and Scientific Director
  • L:R Heather Munroe-Blum; Demis Hassabis; Janet Rossant; Shingai Manjengwa
  • Audience at event
  • Audience at event