An exclusive interview with Chen Tianqiao: Will “unlock the secrets of the human brain” by investing heavily in basic research

2022-05-20 0 By

“When Other investors heard From Tao Hu that it would take 10 years to produce consumer products, they didn’t invest. I told Tao Hu that I would give you 20 years to do it.”Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is empowering industries, making a war for talent inevitable.As a frontier brain science field with high global attention, it not only attracts a large amount of capital investment, but also has high requirements for cross-talents.Chen Tianqiao, founder of Tianqiao Brain Research Institute (TCCI), said recently that China has many top talents in the field of ARTIFICIAL intelligence. Some of them have been poached by high salaries in industries such as autonomous driving, but there are still many excellent AI talents doing research in universities without being noticed.”We want to find these lonely people and invite them into brain science, and I’m happy to pay them for the difference between their earnings and those of their corporate peers.”In 2016, Chen launched a $1 billion project to fund global brain science. He announced $100 million for basic research at the California Institute of Technology in the United States, and 500 million yuan for clinical research in Brain science in China.Projects announced so far include the Frontier Laboratory of Applied Neurotechnology at Huashan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University and the Artificial Intelligence Mental Health Laboratory at the Shanghai Mental Health Center.”We expect to fund a number of projects in China in the future, which is a bit like buying a horse’s bones for a thousand dollars.”Chen Tianqiao told CBN reporters.Half of the remaining $800 million or so will go to basic research and the other half to support clinical research, he said.Chen told reporters that he is looking for outstanding AI talents through all channels to attract them to the field of brain science.To that end, TCCI has supported more than 40 global academic conferences on brain science this year.When he founded TCCI, Mr Chen envisioned “unlocking the secrets of the human brain” by investing heavily in basic research.In an interview, Chen admitted that the mysteries of the brain are too complex and that he has no medical background, so it will take a long time to understand the basic research of brain science.”That’s not to say there’s nothing we can do.””With the help of AI, we can accelerate the clinical transformation of brain research and support brain science research with the latest technological means,” Chen told China Business News.In recent years, artificial intelligence technology plays an important role in brain computer interface (BCI), which is the frontier of brain science.The technology has gained attention especially since Neuralink was founded by tesla CEO ElonMusk.Professor RichardAndersen, whom Chen supports at Caltech, is working on applications of brain-computer interfaces, such as allowing a person to play a piano just by thinking about it, using signals from electrodes.Chen was also keen to see Neuralink release several eye-catching studies this year, such as allowing monkeys to play video games with their minds.But he believes that what Musk has already achieved is not new technology, and that Chinese researchers can even surpass it to some extent.”In the applied neurotechnology laboratory, there are brain-computer interface technologies including flexible cortical and deep electrodes, deep brain stimulation (DBS), and non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), where magnetic signals are sent through the skull to stimulate the brain’s nerves to intervene to address problems such as depression, and ultrasound to regulate the brain.”Chen Tianqiao explained to reporters.”It’s not new technology to plug electrodes into a person’s brain and allow them to control their emotions or actions,” he notes.Mr Chen believes Mr Musk has used his publicness to draw attention to brain-computer interfaces, a technology that already exists.”Musk’s breakthrough was to improve the accuracy of the electrodes by increasing the number of channels and developing a minimally invasive surgical implant system.””But this is a quantitative change, not a qualitative change.””Unlike basic research, which requires long-term investment, AI technology is more helpful for humans to solve immediate problems,” Chen told reporters.Mr Chen said China had a clear advantage in clinical research.”Our first funding project in China was a collaboration with the Zhou Liangfu Foundation and Huashan Hospital to discover mining tools for exploring the brain.””Now we have set up an ARTIFICIAL intelligence lab, hoping to provide a map for excavating mining tools,” Chen told reporters.Chen revealed that he invested tens of millions of yuan to tao Hu, a researcher at the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to develop an invasive flexible BRAIN-computer interface electrode.”When Other investors heard From Tao Hu that it would take 10 years to produce consumer products, they didn’t invest. I told Tao Hu that I would give you 20 years to do it.””As long as the money is well spent, EVEN if it is spent quickly, I am willing to continue to provide support,” Chen said.In addition to brain-computer interfaces, Chen is also interested in the use of ARTIFICIAL intelligence to capture a person’s physical characteristics.TCCI’s new ARTIFICIAL Intelligence and Mental Health Lab will use ARTIFICIAL intelligence to analyze data to capture crowd behavior and identify cognitive problems through training and calculation of models.These physiological data include respiration rate, heart rate, gait and so on.’There are about 240 million people suffering from mental disorders in China, but we don’t have enough psychiatrists to diagnose and treat them,’ he told reporters.This requires the study of an objective trained model to achieve a standardized level of diagnosis.”Our goal is to turn local data into total data, short-term data into long-term data, subjective data into objective data, and small amounts of data into total data.”Chen tianqiao said.But using ARTIFICIAL intelligence to analyze big data about people’s physiology also faces ethical challenges as discussions about data privacy grow.”We have been studying this issue,” Chen told China Business News. “I spend 10 hours a week discussing issues with experts, most of which are related to data privacy protection.It is essential to fully respect national laws and policies. We are fundamentally opposed to groundbreaking research at the expense of ethics.He believes that within the scope of complying with policies, regulations and ethics, privacy issues can be solved through technology and strategies.On the technology side, for example, AI sensors can be combined to determine behavior.