Depending on your point of view it can either sound like a Frankenstein-type nightmare or an exciting step forward. But whatever view you subscribe to, young tech company Vicarious’ ambitious plan is certainly attracting the attention, and money, of some big names.
Scott Phoenix, founder of the San Francisco based Vicarious wants to recreate the human neocortex as computer code, a computational paradigm named the Recursive Cortical Network: “I want to create a computer that thinks and learns like a human being but does not to need to eat or sleep”, he told the Wall Street Journal. Phoenix went on to claim that Vicarious has already created software that can outwit Captcha, those annoying tests which many websites use to see if a human or a computer is using them.
The four-year old company’s project is said to be backed by some familiar names, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher, who are believed to have invested 40 million dollars in the scheme.
Others thought to be pledging funds are PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.
Vicarious aims to create a computer that can not only recognise objects but also the textures associated with them. They also ambitiously claimed that they hope to create software that will learn how to cure diseases, create renewable energy and carry out most of the tasks that human beings can do: “We tell investors that right now, human beings are doing a lot of things that computers should be able to do”, explains Phoenix.