Artificial intelligence and automation are helping researchers make sense out of data thrown up by ongoing endeavours in every discipline of science.
These systems and devices are not only collecting, collating and analysing scientific data but are also intelligently and independently drawing up new hypotheses and approaches to research.
David Waltz of the Centre for Computational Learning Systems at Columbia University and Bruce G. Buchanan of the University of Pittsburgh suggest that the best approach is to think of these tools as intelligent assistants that can do different types of tasks associated with scientific research.
They argue that it is also possible that these new tools will generate even more data to be considered and will therefore contribute to one of the problems they are meant to solve, a Columbia release said.
They point out that computer-aided automation has been a part of scientific research for decades, from simple programmes that plotted ballistic arcs to databases that held and organised scientific data. Waltz and Buchanan argue that these new systems are arriving just when they are needed the most.
These perspectives appeared in the Tuesday edition of Science.