Vicarious is an AI company that counts Ashton Kutcher, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg among its investors. Here is what you need to know.
1. Vicarious Is a ‘Secretive” Artificial Intelligence Company
Zuckerberg and Musk back definitely-not-creepy artificial intelligence project http://t.co/fOhv0CSuTc
— GuardianUS (@GuardianUS) March 21, 2014
The Wall Street Journal calls Vicarious a “secretive” company:
“Vicarious has an ambitious goal: Replicating the neocortex, the part of the brain that sees, controls the body, understands language and does math. Translate the neocortex into computer code and ‘you have a computer that thinks like a person,’ says Vicarious co-founder Scott Phoenix. ‘Except it doesn’t have to eat or sleep.'”
Vicarious, also known as Vicarious FPC, was co-founded by Scott Phoenix Dileep George.
2. Ashton Kutcher, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg Are Investors
— Josh Weinberger (@kitson) March 21, 2014
Business Insider reports that the combined investment of Kutcher, Musk, Zuckerberg and several other investors totals $40 million.
Other notable investors in Vicarious include Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Adam D’Angelo (former Facebook CTO and co-founder of Quora). Given the involvement of these former Facebook execs, Zuckerberg’s buy-in makes a lot of sense. Box CEO Aaron Levie is also an investor.
3. Vicarious May Get Involved With Facebook AI
The Wall Street Journal notes that Facebook is also getting involved in the AI biz. It is possible that Facebook and Vicarious could join forces at some future date.
“Facebook is also using artificial intelligence for facial recognition to identify users in photos. Facebook recently hired a leader in artificial intelligence, Yann LeCun, to run a new lab.
A Facebook spokesman said Zuckerberg’s investment in Vicarious, which hasn’t been previously reported, is a personal one and does not reflect Facebook’s interest in using Vicarious software.”
4. Vicarious AI Smarter Than CAPTCHAs
The Next Web notes that the AI software developed by Vicarious is smart enough to be able to decipher 90% of CAPTCHAs.
The Next Web notes that “researchers from Stanford University published a paper in 2011 that said a CAPTCHA scheme should be considered ‘broken’ if an attacker can reliably ‘reach a precision of at least 1 percent.'”
In other words, Vicarious AI is nearly as smart as a human being when it comes to reading CAPTCHAs, and smart enough to require sites to start thinking of another way to ensure the person viewing a site is a human being.
5. Vicarious Might Cure Diseases
VentureBeat reports that, someday down the line, Vicarious software will be able to “perform highly complex tasks like finding cures to diseases.”
But despite all this promise, VentureBeat notes that Vicarious is unlikely to turn a profit for at least a few more years.