The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Will Buy an Artificial Intelligence Startup
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is getting some help from artificial intelligence.
The philanthropic organization, founded by Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in 2015, will buy Meta, a startup focusing on artificial intelligence and related data analytic technology in the healthcare industry.
The deal was disclosed in a Facebook post Monday by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative president of science Cornelia Bargmann and the organization’s CTO Brian Pinkerton. Terms of the deal were not revealed.
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Meta specializes in using artificial intelligence technologies like natural language processing and machine learning to sift through millions of scientific and technology papers and identify which papers should presumably be most important to health-care professionals. Several companies like IBM (IBM) and its Watson business are betting that A.I. technologies can help cut through the noise of the thousands of research papers published each day and help busy doctors keep up to date of the latest health trends.
Meta CEO Sam Molyneux said in a blog post that by joining the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Meta team would now find it easier to work with academics and researchers than it has before as a startup.
Bargmann and Pinkerton wrote that Meta’s technologies can “dramatically accelerate scientific progress” and could help perform feats like helping researchers more quickly discover promising treatments for ailments like coronary heart disease and the Zika virus.
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“We will be working to make Meta even more powerful and useful for the entire scientific community, and are committed to offering these tools and features for free to all researchers,” Bargmann and Pinkerton wrote.
Molyneux wrote that because of the pending acquisition, Meta would not focus on making money like a typical business but on more altruistic motives.
“Helping scientists will produce a virtuous cycle, as they develop new tools that in turn unlock additional opportunities for faster advancement,” wrote Molyneux. “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s recognition of this ‘meta’ effect is why Meta can be a key piece of the puzzle to enable the future of human health that we believe to be possible within this century.”
In September, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative said it would spend $3 billion over the next decade on projects intended to cure and treat all human diseases.
The Chan Zuckerberg also hired Bargmann, a former non-executive director of AstraZeneca, to become its president of science in September.