Inspiring essay Niko! Awesome read to start the week.

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Wonderful article!

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Jan 24, 2023Liked by Niko McCarty

Lots of interesting topics intersecting in this essay.

One thing that stands out to me is how much we get in our own way by setting up institutions to add external structure to science – the journals are one great example of this, so are government agencies like the NIH and FDA. At the outset of when these institutions are founded the good tends to outweigh the bad, but over time, like any organization of humans, they get bloated and inefficient, and start to make bad decisions. But it also becomes harder to get rid of them because things depend on them, people are used to the status quo, and they have political power.

On the more optimistic side, it's clear that the huge advances in software and especially these large ML models will open up new doors for researchers. Coupled with automation (I've been wanting to get an Opentrons for a while...) it's possible to design experiments in a way that just wasn't feasible before.

One of my favorite applications of this is directed evolution – several groups have developed closed-loop, continuous systems that improve enzyme activity by automating the process of selecting the best mutants, eg: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32374988/.

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Really nice article, thank you

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Before we get too involved in exploring the means by which progress can be accelerated, we should probably first be questioning the degree to which the "more is better" relationship with knowledge which modern science is built upon is appropriate for the 21st century.

QUESTION: Can human beings successfully manage ever more, ever larger powers, delivered at what seems to be an ever accelerating pace?

I'm looking for science blogs which are willing to investigate such questions. If this is one, happy to hear it, please let me know. Thanks.

Here's further argument if that's of interest.


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Let’s share BioData at www.getarius.com :)

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