Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Hopes To Cure Disease With AI Startup Meta

By Andy Franco , Jan 24, 2017 07:59 PM EST

The charitable organization founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) has acquired the artificial intelligence (AI) startup, Meta. This is the organization's very first acquisition.

The CZI previously said that buying the startup is a step towards reaching the org's ultimate aim. It wants to make the planet a better place to live in by eliminating disease from all over the world.

"We are excited to share that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has agreed to acquire Meta, a company that has developed an AI that helps scientists read, understand and prioritize millions of scientific papers," says Cori Bargmann who is the CZI chief tech officer.

The Toronto-based startup utilizes AI to browse through and read scientific papers and logs, essentially giving researchers the gist of the paper. Sam Molyneux, CEO of Meta, reveals in a Facebook post how he and his sister Amy, together with a team of engineers and scientists, invested about six years figuring out "how to use artificial intelligence to analyze new scientific knowledge as it's published - along with the majority of what has been written, throughout modern history."

The AI goes through millions of papers and finds patterns. Scientists can then find relevant information at light speed. Sam Molyneux says that there are more than 4,000 papers on biomedicine alone that are being published each day. People who are interested in using the tool may reserve a free account.

Sometime in September of last year, Chan and Zuckerberg revealed that they would invest $3 billion of their personal fortune into the initiative. The money is to be spent on organizations and companies that dedicate themselves to medical research over the next ten years. 600 million USD was set aside for a Biohub and Infectious Disease Initiative.

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