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Zuckerberg, Musk and Fake Steve Jobs invest in secretive AI firm

Mark, Elon and Ashton Kutcher help Vicarious raise $40m

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Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have become some of the latest investors in secretive artificial intelligence software firm Vicarious.

The SpaceX billionaire and the Facebook founder took part in a $40m funding round, the second major cash-raising from the firm in the last two years, the Wall Street Journal reported. The actor who played Steve Jobs in one of the many movies of the Apple chief's life, Ashton Kutcher, also invested through his fund A-Grade Investments.

Vicarious wants to replicate the neocortex of the human brain in computer code, coming up with a software programme that can think like a person. The neocortex is the part of the brain that sees, controls the body and understands language and mathematics and the firm claims it's already produced software that can do the first part - interpreting images.

According to its website, the firm has developed a visual perception system that looks at the contents of photos and videos in a similar manner to the way the brain does. The company's co-founder Scott Phoenix told the Journal that the next step will be creating a computer that can understand textures as well as shapes and objects.

Eventually, the company wants to build computers that can learn to cure diseases, create cheap renewable energy and do most of the jobs that people currently do.

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

However, the company doesn't expect any of that to happen very quickly. Phoenix said the company wouldn't be turning a profit anytime soon. ®

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