How do you accelerate scientific research and discovery? By making it easier for researchers to access 25 million scientific papers in a database powered by artificial intelligence.
At least that’s what Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, think.
In January, their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative acquired Meta, a search engine that relies on artificial intelligence to comb through the flood of available scientific research so scholars can access the most important and relevant research first.
The initiative didn’t purchase the company just because it was a cool idea. It recently pledged $3 billion to help cure, prevent or manage all disease by the end of the 21st century. Offering scientists and students the tools of artificial intelligence should help them identify new opportunities and enable breakthroughs.
The search engine will be free to everyone later this year. You can sign up now to reserve your account.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) January 23, 2017
Scientists around the world share their work in peer-reviewed publications. In the fast-moving fields of science, technology, engineering and math, new publications come out faster than scientists can keep up with. In biomedicine alone, 4,000 new papers come out every day.
That’s impossible for humans to process, but light reading for advanced neural networks.
“The potential for this kind of platform is virtually limitless,” wrote Cori Bargmann and Brian Pinkerton of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Here’s what the search engine will do:
- For students: Meta will make writing papers easier. The search engine will fetch results from the most established scientists in a field and help students prioritize what to read.
- For scientists: The tool will find the latest, most relevant data, and identify experiments that have already been performed. This will enable researchers to focus on new areas for investigation.
- For universities and businesses: Organizations can spot trends where innovation is happening, so they can better pick promising areas to fund.
“Going forward, our intent is not to profit from Meta’s data and capabilities,” wrote Sam Molyneux, Meta’s CEO. “Instead we aim to ensure they get to those who need them most, across sectors and as quickly as possible, for the benefit of the world.”