Implications of Automating Science: The Possibility of Artificial Creativity and the Future of Science

Journal of Philosophy of Life 13 (1):44-63 (2023)
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Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are used in various domains of human activities, and one of these domains is scientific research. Now, researchers in many scientific areas try to apply AI technologies to their research and automate it. These researchers claim that the ‘automation of science’ will liberate people from non-creative tasks in scientific research, and radically change the overall state of science and technology so that large-scale innovation results. As I see it, the automation of science is remarkable in another respect: since science is one of the most distinctive human activities, the tendency of automating it prompts us to reconsider the aspects of our humanity itself. One of these aspects is concerned with human creativity, on which this article focuses. In this article, I address two questions concerning the automation of science: first, ‘Can AI makes creative discovery?’; second, ‘What implications may the automation of science have on science and society?’. Scientific discovery is said to be one of the most creative phases of scientific research. I show that, though there are no reasons in principle why AI could not make creative discovery, we do not at present have enough knowledge how to realize it. If the automation of science nevertheless proceeds, the cultural values science as a creative activity has might be reduced, and it might alter the state of scientific community and its relationship with society in some undesirable way. Therefore, I conclude, we need to specify desirable ways of introducing AI technologies into science and devise measures against demerits of automating science.

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Makoto Kureha
Yamaguchi University


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