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business models, strategies and technologies

Meta = AI in the service of the scientific ecosystem

The fruits of scientific research and development only have limited value if no-one knows about them – the AI path to making research know-how useful

The know-how needle in the research haystack

All over the world, scientists and researchers are beavering away, adding countless tiny new pieces to vast scientific puzzles and pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

Unfortunately, there’s a natural tendency for incredibly specialised know-how to remain isolated and ring-fenced within silo-style specialist disciplines, countless specialist institutions and limited-market readerships.  And here in the 21st century, science also has the problem of staggering under its own phenomenal growth.  Thousands of scientific papers are published each day in the field of biomedicine alone.

The answers to seriously big questions may well be there – but how do we mere mortals (and the companies that can bring this valuable know-how to market) find them? Using current tools – even in the digital dimension – most important findings will probably remain unnoticed and unread by the very scientists who can best learn from them and the technologists who can best apply them.

From the “big picture” perspective, it seems the effort/output balance is decidedly out of kilter, and way too much is left to mere chance …

Sifting the wheat from the chaff

That’s where a company like Meta Inc. comes in. Based in Toronto, Meta uses artificial intelligence technologies that include natural language processing and machine learning to sift through millions of scientific and technology papers and deliver the insights buried within these to researchers in real time. This helps identify which research results are likely to be most important and most useful – no guarantees, of course –  as well as helping other people understand what’s encapsulated within their convoluted wordings.

This crucial information can help researchers and other specialists make faster progress in all areas of science and technology, and to accelerate the implementation of useful discoveries and technical advances.

Meta is a tool that helps researchers understand what’s happening in the back rooms of science and research worldwide, and shows them where new developments and findings are headed. This crucial information can help researchers and experts make faster progress in all areas of science to accelerate medical advances.

Meta says that the technologies it uses can “dramatically accelerate scientific progress” and because of the company’s initial focus on health care this can – for example – enable researchers to discover, develop and roll out promising treatments more quickly.

Most scientific breakthroughs have been preceded by the invention of new tools that help us see and experiment in new ways.

Mark Zuckerberg
Co-founder, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Wider perspectives with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

On 23 January 2017, it was announced that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organisation founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, is acquiring Meta to make its key technologies more widely available.

According to representatives from the Initiative, “We will be working to make Meta even more powerful and useful for the entire scientific community, and are committed to offering these tools and features for free to all researchers.”

“Helping scientists will produce a virtuous cycle, as they develop new tools that in turn unlock additional opportunities for faster advancement,” explained Meta CEO and co-founder Sam Molyneux about the new link-up. “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s recognition of this ‘meta’ effect is why Meta can be a key piece of the puzzle to enable the future of human health that we believe to be possible within this century.”

AI in the service of the scientific ecosystem

In a knowledge-driven future, such post-corporate perspectives seem laden with potential.

External info
https://chanzuckerberg.com/ http://meta.com/