The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative has signed an agreement to acquire the AI startup Meta, and its powerful search engine focused on scientific papers. The organization will make this tool free for all scientists and researchers.
Cori Bargmann, President of Science, and Brian Pinkerton, CTO of the CZI announced the deal on their official Facebook page, while Meta CEO Sam Molyneux penned a letter published on the site’s home.
The acquisition is the first made by the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, a big step in their continuing effort to “advance human potential” and cure or prevent most diseases by the end of the century.
What is Meta and how does it work?
Meta’s core product is an AI technology that can “read, understand, and prioritize” scientific papers as they come out and cross-reference them to find trends in different disciplinary fields.
The company works much like a search engine, sorting through thousands of documents at a time provided by partners’ repositories online. Meta analyzes the contents of the publications, and it can connect dots or make projections almost impossible to humans.
From this central AI, the firm led by Sam and Amy Molyneux spawned into a set of different, dedicated tools for scientists in specific fields.
The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative found countless potential applications for Meta with their goal to make the quality of life greater for humans and decided to invest an undisclosed amount in the 6-year-old startup.
Meta and the CZI will make science available to everyone
Currently, the Meta team depends on funding rounds and contributions made by ventures, but with the CZI stepping in there will be no more financial worries neither for the company nor scientists.
Scientific research and the latest journal publications are protected by copyright models and hard paywalls, making the information not widely available to everyone who could use it.
Under the CZI’s wing, Meta will provide access to their AI tools to researchers free of charge. That could represent a way of bypassing paid subscription fees to read recently published papers.
“WE WILL UNITE META’S CAPABILITIES INTO A SINGLE, POWERFUL TOOL THAT IS AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE. WE WILL PROVIDE A TRULY MODERN WAY FOR RESEARCHERS TO UNDERSTAND THE STATE OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE,” said Sam Molyneux in his letter.
The project co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, hopes that Meta amplifies the scope and speeds up discoveries in all fields, but especially in medicine to help “cure, prevent, or manage all diseases” by 2100.