When Biology Becomes Engineering

watch time: 23 minutes

As the product of millions of years of evolution, biology is incredibly complex. And until now, the science behind understanding biology has largely been driven by empiricism — we try things out and see if they work, which, while it sounds great in theory, can result in billions of dollars lost in drug discovery (or other lost paths) in reality.

But now, through advances in AI and machine learning, computers are finally able to understand things at a much deeper level than humans ever could. So how can we apply engineering principles for better diagnostics — even engineer new biological circuits for example — as bio innovation moves from science to engineering? Andreessen Horowitz general partner Vijay Pande reflects on all this and more, in this talk delivered at our most recent annual a16z Summit in November 2017.

image credits/sources: various, Wikimedia Commons; Yura Samoilov/Flickr; U.S. government agencies (Department of Defense, NASA); purchased stock