Biz / Tech

Chen Tianqiao invests 1 billion in AI and brain science research

Zhu Shenshen
Billionaire Chen Tianqiao has announced an investment of 1 billion yuan in AI and brain science research, building new labs and recruiting top global scientists.
Zhu Shenshen

Chen Tianqiao, a billionaire tycoon and founder of game firm Shanda, will invest an additional 1 billion yuan (US$138 million) in AI and brain science, through a Shanghai-based institute.

The non-profit institute, Tianqiao & Chrissy Chen Institute or TCCI, announced the plan at a forum of the recent World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2023 or WAIC.

The investment totals 1 billion yuan and includes a new MindX lab with an initial investment of US$100 million. TCCI is recruiting two top scientists globally to share the fund and conduct research. Several new labs for AI for sleep and dream and AI for anti-aging, with initial investment of 50 million yuan each, will also be founded.

Chen Tianqiao invests 1 billion in AI and brain science research
Ti Gong

Chen-backed TCCI announces new investment plan in Shanghai.

The investment will "push integration between human intelligence and artificial intelligence" and "create meaningful digital life" using AI and brain science, said a TCCI's professor Gerwin Schalk.

In the future, TCCI will have a team of 200 scientists, a significant increase from its current 30.

TCCI announced the plan at the In Brain to Future forum, a part of the WAIC 2023.

It's not the first time for Chen to invest in brain science.

Chen and his family founded Shanda in Shanghai, making it a top online game in China around 2004. Shanda was also the first Chinese gaming company listed in Nasdaq in 2004, which made Chen one of the richest men in China then.

Chen later sold all shares in Shanda and has focused on investing, with brain science as a major trend.

Before the investment, TCCI set up labs for brain and nerve related research, along with the Shanghai Huashan Hospital and Shanghai Mental Health Center.

Meanwhile, Chen's Shanda has also invested in Shanghai-based NeuroXess, focusing on brain computer interface, or BCI, research, also the WAIC's forum organizer.

The company released a number of results at the WAIC. It will boost the development of BCI in China, a booming new category science fueled by Neuralink, which is backed by Tesla and Twitter boss Elon Musk.

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