The men behind Facebook, Tesla and PayPal (and Ashton Kutcher) unite to help create a computer that works like a HUMAN BRAIN

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, pictured, has invested in artificial intelligence firm VicariousSome of the most entrepreneurial minds in the world are joining forces to help a small tech startup create a digital brain.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla owner Elon Musk join the likes of PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, actor Ashton Kutcher and Facebook’s co-founder Dustin Moskovitz by investing in San Francisco-based Vicarious. 
The startup wants to create software that ‘thinks and learns like a human’, and to do that, the firm is attempting to build a program that mimics the brain’s neocortex.  
According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg, Musk and Kutcher have invested a total of $40million (£24million) in the company. 
Thiel reportedly invested $1.2 million (£727,000) in 2010, while Moskovitz was said to have added $15million (£9million) to the fund. 
The neocortex is the top layer of the cerebral hemispheres in the brain of mammals. It is approximately 3mm thick and has six layers, each involved with various functions. 

These include sensory perception, spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and language in humans.
According to the company’s website: ‘Vicarious is developing machine learning software based on the computational principles of the human brain.
‘Our first technology is a visual perception system that interprets the contents of photographs and videos in a manner similar to humans. 
‘Powering this technology is a new computational paradigm we call the Recursive Cortical Network.’
The San Francisco-based startup wants to create software that 'thinks and learns like a human'. To do this the firm is attempting to build a program that mimics the brain's neocortex, which is responsible for thought, spatial reasoning and language in humans. Stock image pictured
The San Francisco-based startup wants to create software that 'thinks and learns like a human'. To do this the firm is attempting to build a program that mimics the brain's neocortex, which is responsible for thought, spatial reasoning and language in humans. Stock image pictured
Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, pictured, is also involved in the projectActor Ashton Kutcher has also invested in the firm
Zuckerberg alongside actor Ashton Kutcher, pictured left, and chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Elon Musk, pictured right, are said to have invested a total of $40million (£24million) into the project

WHAT IS THE NEOCORTEX?

The neocortex is the top layer of the cerebral hemispheres in the brain of mammals.
It is approximately 3mm thick and has six layers each involved with various functions. 
These include sensory perception, generation of motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and in humans, language.
Vicarious founder Scott Phoenix told the Wall Street Journal if the firm is successful with its current project, the company will have created 'a computer that thinks like a person except it doesn't need to eat or sleep.
A Facebook spokesperson said Zuckerberg’s investment was ‘personal’, and was not affiliated with the company. 
Peter Thiel said: ‘Vicarious is bringing us all closer to a future where computers perceive, imagine, and reason just like humans.’
And Dustin Moskovitz added: ‘The technology that Vicarious is developing has the potential to improve all lives and revolutionise every industry.’
In October 2013, the company announced it had developed an algorithm that ‘reliably’ solves modern Captchas - the world’s most widely used test of a machine’s ability to act human.
Captchas are used when filling in forms, for example, to make sure it’s not being completed by a bot. This prevents people programming computers to buy a bulk load of gig tickets, for example.
A Captcha scheme is considered broken if an algorithm is able to reach a precision of at least 1 per cent. 
By using research into so-called machine learning - in which a machine can learn from its mistakes - and neuroscience, the Vicarious artificial intelligence achieved success rates up to 90 per cent on modern Captchas from Google, Yahoo, PayPal, Captcha.com, and others. 
Company founder Scott Phoenix told the Wall Street Journal if the firm is successful with its current project, Vicarious will have created ‘a computer that thinks like a person except it doesn't need to eat or sleep.'

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