The Art of Organic Synthesis in the Age of Automation

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Recent progress in the automation of chemical synthesis is part of a broad ongoing trend that is based on incorporating machine learning algorithms to improve automated performance in different tasks. However, what are the implications on the art of organic synthesis? Will robotic chemists replace us in the next 50–100 years? Will they be able to outperform a master organic chemist in the study of mechanisms, the development of new reactions, the optimization of reaction conditions, catalysts, or synthetic routes? What would be our role as human chemists in this automation revolution? In this essay, these questions will be reflected upon through the progress in the synthesis of strychnine since 1954.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-135
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Journal of Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Catalysis
  • Machine Learning
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Singularity


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