The following article published by the Harvard T. H. Chan introduces to us a new project called the Human Immunomics Initiative which hopes to decode the rules and mechanisms used by the human immune system in fighting disease. Through this study, reserchers hope to fast track the development of vaccines.
The Initiative comes as a response to the increasing demand for a COVID-19 vaccine. It will utilize new testing techniques and advanced AI to create a model of immunity across populations.
Implications for AI
The human immune system is a wonderful thing. It is not a static shield that helps us prevent diseases. It also learns, and evolves every time it encounters a new disease-causing bacteria, hence enabling it to upgrade its disease-fighting capacities.
The Human Immunomics Initiative is another one of those projects which attempts to “map” the various “components” of the human being. It hopes that by understanding how our physical body works, it can replicate and monetize our natural capacities.
But we all know how this will end. Scientists will be able to discover the chemical process behind the immune system, but they won’t be able to explain why people can get better simply because they think that they are getting better (placebo effect) or why people’s emotions and thought processes can affect a person’s immunity (psychoneuroimmunology).
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