Last year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Jarvis, his own A.I. assistant voiced by Morgan Freeman. This year, the 32-year-old and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are funding researchers and scientists who are working to combat deadly diseases. It was reported that among the projects that will be funded is the development of technology with the potential to read human minds.
According to Buzzfeed, Zuckerberg and Chan launched a $3 billion effort last year, which aims to “cure, prevent, or manage all diseases” by the end of the century. The cash will be distributed by the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, and $50 million will be given to nearly 50 scientists in fields such as engineering, chemistry, biology, and physics, among others.
The scientists, referred to as Biohub Investigators, come from UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and UC San Francisco. They will reportedly be receiving up to $1.5 million for five years of research.
According to the New York Post, one of the researchers who was selected to receive funding is Dr. Rikky Muller, co-founder and CEO of a firm called Cortera. Muller is working on a technology designed to be used by people suffering from severe disabilities.
She is said to be working on developing “clinically viable and minimally invasive neural interfaces” and hopes that recording brain activity will allow paralyzed people to control prosthetic limbs.
Muller’s implants can be placed inside the brain and have the potential to change people’s behavior by altering their physiological responses, which is the term for reactions which take place in response to external stimuli. They work by monitoring the electrical signals sent within the brain.
Apart from funding Muller’s research, Zuckerberg took to Facebook on Thursday to announce that they have funded their first class of investigators. The first Biohub group includes a doctor from UCSF looking at how malaria spreads, a Stanford scientist working to analyse massive quantities of genomic data, a miniature foldable microscope, and more.
The father-of-one said that the Biohub team is a diverse group, made up of almost 50 percent women and 15 percent underrepresented minorities.
“I’m excited to see what they come up with,” said Zuckerberg.
For more, check out Jobs & Hire’s report on what happens when Mark Zuckerberg holds meetings with Facebook employees.