Artificial intelligence could be misused to design highly toxic chemical and biological weapons, warn scientists.
Computer algorithms are considered a force for good, identifying new forms of antibiotics and medicine to combat Covid infection.
But four researchers involved in AI-based drug discovery have now found that the technology could easily be manipulated to search for toxic nerve agents.
The four were asked by the Swiss Federal Institute for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection to look at whether AI could be used by those with ulterior motives – and their AI came up with 40,000 potentially toxic drugs in 6 hours.
Fabio Urbina of Collaboration Pharmaceuticals in North Carolina, USA, said: “The experiments made us realize the need to be wary of the technology in the wrong hands.”
“Some of the AI-produced molecules were even more toxic than VX — a toxic nerve agent developed by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Lab in the 1950s. VX is a toxic agent which kills its victims through muscle paralysis.