Meta’s Protein-folding AI Reminds Us It Is Not Just A Metaverse Firm

Protein-folding AI

Pointers at Glance

  • Meta has released a new protein-folding AI that could be revolutionary for science and the development of new medicines.
  • As the company was known before changing its name, Facebook has always been seen as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) leader.
  • The popular open-source framework PyTorch was Facebook’s creation, and earlier in 2022, Meta became a founding member of a foundation aiming to pilot the adoption of AI.

In its pursuit to become a leader in the metaverse, changing its company name to reflect, many people, including shareholders, have been concerned that it will decrease its focus on other vital areas.

Brad Gerstner, the founder of Meta shareholder Altimeter Capital, wrote a letter in which he urged Meta to decrease its metaverse investments and solidify the position of the company as one of the world’s leaders in AI.

He wrote that Meta’s investment in AI would lead to exciting and important new products that can be cross-sold to billions of customers. From Grand Teton to Universal Speech Translator to Make-A-Video, they are witnessing a Cambrian moment in AI. Undoubtedly, Meta is well-positioned to help invent and monetize that future.

Meta’s announcement of its protein-folding AI this week could help alleviate such concerns. The company has released the ESM Metagenomic Atlas, which features more than 600 million proteins and predictions for almost the entire MGnify90 database, in addition to the model used to create the database and an API that permits researchers to use it for scientific discovery.

Meta says that a language model of protein sequences speeded structure prediction up to 60x.

It explained that ESMFold shows how AI can give new tools to understand the natural world, much like the microscope, which enabled users to see the world at a tiny scale and opened up a complete contemporary understanding of life.

Most AI research has focused on helping computers understand the world as humans do. The language of proteins is beyond human comprehension and has evaded even the most powerful computational tools.

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