This past Thursday, we held a joint session for our Masters’ programs in Computational Biology and Artificial Intelligence, hosting a discussion with the Artificial Intelligence pioneer from Rutgers University, Prof. Casimir Kulikowski (a member of the US National Academy of Medicine, Fellow of IEEE and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, American College of Medical Informatics, and other societies).
Prof Kulikowski has been collaborating with our group since 2001 and we co-authored 20+ papers (in journals like JAMIA, the Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Methods of Information in Medicine, Plos One, BMC Bioinformatics, Nature, and others) and participating as an invited expert in several of our European Commission-funded projects. The director of the Biomedical Informatics Group, Prof Maojo, and our MSc students, discussed with Prof Kulikowski how current AI research frequently overlooks lessons learned over the past 50+ years, and may lead, sooner rather than later, to another “AI Winter”.
Since AI’s inception in 1956, the field has undergone several ups and downs (the latter named “AI winters”). In biomedicine AI holds much promise, but the hype could well lead to a new “AI Winter”, should results not live up to expectations of improving patients’ health and significantly helping practitioners. Prof Kulikowski explained how research from the 1970s and 80s (when he was one of the main pioneers) already illustrated the challenges that AI must overcome in order to build systems that can truly assist professionals in their clinical practices and research. Many of these challenges are still with us. Kulikowski pointed to the need for new approaches from cognitive science, linguistics, the neurosciences, and ethics to complement existing approaches.
A memorable session!