Billionaire tech entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, along with actor Ashton Kutcher, have joined forces to make a $40 million investment in the artificial intelligence firm Vicarious FPC.
The firm hopes to build a system capable of replicating the functions of the neocortex of the human brain, the part that controls body movement, vision, understands language and does math, The Wall Street Journal reports. One day, the company hopes to build a “computer that thinks like a person,” Vicarious co-founder Scott Phoenix says. “except it doesn’t have to eat or sleep.”
Musk, the investor behind the electric car company Tesla, is no stranger to forward-looking investments. In addition to his work to mainstream the electric car, Musk is behind the company SpaceX, which is developing quickly reusable rocket technology that Musk says could be used to colonize other planets. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement that his Vicarious investment reflects a personal interest and not a move on behalf of the social network he built, but the artificial intelligence technology companies like Vicarious are developing could be instrumental in turning Facebook’s massive amount of user-generated data into usable information. Though not as well-known a tech entrepreneur, Kutcher has literally played one in the movies (Steve Jobs).
Creating artificial intelligence machines with human-like capabilities is likely decades away, at least, but that hasn’t stopped investors from putting their money in companies that could one day take big data analysis to a level as yet unseen. Just last month Google spent $400 million buying the artificial intelligence firm “Deep Mind.”