Musk, Zuckerberg, Kutcher Invest In Artificial-Intelligence Company Vicarious

3/21/14 1:02PM EST

Musk Zuckerberg Kutcher Invest In Artificial Intelligence Company Vicarious Musk, Zuckerberg, Kutcher Invest In Artificial Intelligence Company Vicarious

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Elon Musk along with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and actor Ashton Kutcher have invested $40 million into in Vicarious FPC, a secretive artificial-intelligence company, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

This is just another example of technology companies entering the artificial-intelligence market. Google recently acquired Deep Mind, an AI company, for $400 million last month.

This is the second major infusion of capital for Vicarious FPC in the last two years.

According to co-founder Scott Phoenix, Vicarious FPC hopes to take artificial intelligence beyond image recognition, which would be beneficial for other applications like autonomous, self-driving cars.

Phoenix told the Wall Street Journal that the next milestone will be creating a computer that can understand not just shapes and objects, but the textures associated with those shapes. For example, a computer might understand what a “chair” is. It might also comprehend “ice.” Vicarious wants to create a computer that will understand a request like “show me a chair made of ice.”

Vicarious FPC’s other co-founder is Dileep George, a neuroscientist.

Phoenix believes the company is years away from any tangible results and is fearful of corporate espionage and hacking. The company’s address isn’t even disclosed.

Vicarious FPC’s investors include a venture fund run by PayPal founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel. Thiel was among those who invested $1.2 million in 2010.

In 2012, a new group of investors, including Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, injected $15 million into the company. Kutcher’s investment comes from his fund, “A-Grade Investments.”

Formation 8, a venture capital company, led the latest funding round.

Companies that pioneer a fundamental technological breakthrough often come to define entire industries. I believe Vicarious has the potential to become one of these companies,” said Formation 8 founder Joe Lonsdale told the Wall Street Journal.


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