DARPA seeks AI-powered ‘autonomous scientist’ to help researchers: The agency wants to do for scientists what AI code generators have done for programmers. (ALEXANDRA KELLEY, NOVEMBER 20, 2023, Defense One)

“What we’re trying to do is replicate the success that we’ve seen for automatic code generation,” Alvaro Velasquez, DARPA’s program manager for Foundation Models for Scientific Discovery, told Nextgov/FCW, a Defense One sister publication. “Right now, software engineers and coders enjoy these tools from OpenAI and Microsoft that help automate the generation of code. We would like to come up with a tool that helps automate the process of scientific discovery.”

Ideally, DARPA’s autonomous scientist will be creative and learn to generate unique scientific hypotheses that take into account advanced aspects of experiments — like scaling and trimming costs — as well as providing skeptical reasoning. In its offer, which was released earlier this month, DARPA officials say that the final product should be “at least 10X better in scalability (problem size, data size etc.) and also in time efficiency.”