A really interesting article was recently published in the Guardian by Laura Spinney. She discusses the evolution of science into an entity that moves beyond theory, spurred on by the advances in machine learning. For example, Facebook’s algorithm predicts your preferences more accurately than any psychologist and AlphaFold, a program built by DeepMind, has produced the most accurate predictions yet of protein structures based on the amino acids they contain. But even though these tools find answers more accurately than any human ever will, they don’t tell you why.
This black box would omit a big part of the old scientific method (hypothesize, predict, test) and will inevitably beg the question: how willing are we to accept answers without an explanation?