Two teams of researchers say they have created machines that can reason, formulate theories, and discover scientific knowledge on their own, marking a major advance in the field of artificial intelligence, Reuters reports. Such robo-scientists could be put to work unraveling complex biological systems, designing new drugs, modeling the world’s climate, or understanding the cosmos. At Aberystwyth University in Wales, Ross King and his colleagues have created a robot called Adam that can not only carry out experiments on yeast metabolism but also reason about the results and plan the next experiment. It is the world’s first example of a machine that has made an independent scientific discovery — in this case, new facts about the genetic make-up of baker’s yeast. "On its own, it can think of hypotheses and then do the experiments, and we’ve checked that it’s got the results correct," said King, who published his findings in the journal Science alongside a second paper from Hod Lipson and Michael Schmidt of Cornell University, who have developed a computer program capable of working out the fundamental physical laws behind a swinging double pendulum. The intelligent robots will not make scientists obsolete any time soon, Lipson said, but they could take over much of the routine work in research laboratories…

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