Chan Zuckerberg Initiative acquires AI startup Meta

Meta built a search engine for the scientific community that parses through millions of academic research papers and presents the latest and most relevant results to users.

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CNET

The Chan Zuckerberg initiative, the philanthropic foundation launched by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced that it's acquiring artificial intelligence startup Meta.

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Based in Toronto, Meta built a search engine for the scientific community that parses through millions of academic research papers and presents the latest and most relevant results to users.

"Meta uses artificial intelligence to analyze and connect insights across millions of papers," wrote Cori Bargmann, Chan Zuckerberg's president of science, and Brian Pinkerton, the group's president of technology, in a Facebook post. "It seeks out the most relevant or impactful studies in a scientific area the moment they are published, and finds patterns in the literature on a scale that no human being could accomplish alone."

The Chan Zuckerberg initiative plans to upgrade the tool to make it more powerful and then offer it for free to all researchers. Eventually, the platform will be extended to other knowledge areas, such as education. Meta CEO Sam Molyneux said developers will soon have the opportunity to build on the tool or integrate it into third party platforms and services.

This is the first acquisition for the Chan Zuckerberg initiative since its launch in December 2015. Technically a limited liability company, the initiative holds 99 percent of Zuckerberg and his wife's Facebook shares and has pledged to invest billions over the next decade in disease prevention, cures, and management.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to Crunchbase, Meta has raised $7.5 million in venture capital.

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