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March 21, 2014

Vicarious Gets $40M from Zuckerberg, Kutcher, Musk

Company Hoping to Create Computers that Think Like Humans

Image courtesy of (kasahasa) /

Artificial intelligence firm Vicarious has received a $40-million shot in the arm to further its goal of building “a computer that thinks like a person.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and tech-enthusiast actor Ashton Kutcher have shelled out the funds to aid the San Francisco-based company in its study of the human brain’s neocortex which the firm hopes to translate into computer code, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The neocortex is the site of humans’ higher brain functions. Essentially, it is the part of the brain that enables us to think, move, see and hear.

Vicarious co-founder Scott Phoenix told the WSJ that while it is difficult to put a time frame on how long it will take to create a robot that can think like a human— it is simply a matter of time before the goal is realized.

The goal is to “have a computer that thinks like a person, except it doesn’t have to eat or sleep,” Phoenix said.

The hope, he told the Journal, is that its computers will have the knowledge to cure diseases, create cheap, renewable energy and do the jobs humans currently perform.

“We tell investors that right now, human beings are doing a lot of things that computers should be able to do,” he said.

A Facebook spokesman told the Journal that Zuckerberg’s investment in Vicarious is a personal one and has nothing to do with Facebook.

Musk did not respond to requests for comment and Kutcher declined to speak on the matter.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.