AI and Genomics

AI is a hot topic in the news and a hot investment category. Like computers and the Internet, AI is a foundational technology that will enable advances in many industries, including genomics. It is changing the intangible such as knowledge and understanding.

Genomics will change the tangible. It will create cures for many major human diseases. It will enable crops to grow where food is in demand. It will simplify and enable various manufacturing processes. It will even change the definition of what we consider to be natural resources. In time, genomics (or synbio) will make headlines as frequently as AI does today.

Accenture, McKinsey, PwC, and Oxford Economics have projected, respectively, that AI will add $8.3 trillion, $13 trillion, $14 trillion, or $20 trillion to the world economy. Genomics will surpass that in total benefit. More importantly, people who are sick, hungry, or poor will benefit most from the genomics revolution.

It’s a rare technology that can both help the people in the greatest need and create more shareholder value than almost any other asset class.

I honor and thank the investors who are enabling genomics startups.

The software analogy

Digital things are more robust than analog things. Digital things can be copied any number of times without losing information. That makes software a powerful technology. By designing the right sequence of bits, engineers can cause computers to predictably perform the designed function. Digitization of information is one of humanity's greatest inventions.

Surprise! DNA, RNA, and proteins are also digital. The right sequence of bases or amino acids cause cells to predictably perform functions. A cell can be copied any number of times without losing the function. It's amazing what functions formed naturally over millions of years of random changes to the program. But now, we can engineer the programs of cells.

The synergy

AI was built upon software, which was built upon computers, which were built upon electricity. Now, AI is foundational for other technologies such as autonomous vehicles and personalized entertainment.

AI is also foundational for genomics. AI enables modeling complex biological systems to predict outcomes of genetic modifications. This is key to designing and iterating successfully.

Overall, the advances in AI over the past decade are unlocking immense potential, especially when combined with genomics.