So, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Ashton Kutcher walk into an artificial intelligence firm. That's not the beginning of a joke—all three tech heavyweights have reportedly invested a joint $40 million (£24.2 million) in Vicarious FPC.
This marks the second major cash flow in two years for the AI company, which is building learning software that mirrors the computational capabilities of the human brain.
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, Vicarious intends to replicate the part of the brain that sees, controls the body, understands language, and does math. If the company is successful in translating the neocortex, it will have created the perfect human—a computer that thinks, but doesn't need to waste any time eating or sleeping.
Of course, Vicarious is nowhere near that final product yet. But $40 million is certainly a step toward it.
Musk, Zuckerberg, and Kutcher could not be reached for comment; none are listed yet on the company's website as investors. Vicarious did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The rather secretive artificial intelligence company has already created its first piece of technology: a visual perception system that interprets photos and videos as any human would. There is no word on just how it might be put to use in the real world.
Other industry leaders have also joined the race toward AI, including Zuckerberg's Facebook, which in December hired two New York University professors to join its new artificial intelligence lab and research data science, machine learning, and AI.
A Facebook spokesman told the Journal that Zuckerberg's Vicarious investment was made on a personal level, and will not impact the social network's plans for development.
Earlier this year, Google stepped into the ring when it laid out $400 million (£242 million) to acquire DeepMind —a "cutting edge artificial intelligence company" with commercial applications in simulations, e-commerce, and games.
The purchase came less than two months after the search giant bought robot makers Boston Dynamics, producers of animal-like robots known as BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat, and Atlas.