Back in April, Mark Zuckerberg announced to the world that he is, in fact, God, and said he wanted to “[help] to cure all diseases by the end of this century.” Today, accompanied by Priscilla Chan, his wife and co-pilot on the God plane, Mark announced a $US3 ($4) billion plan to cure disease.
Zuck and Priscilla laid out the schematics for this effort on Facebook Live. The plan will be part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and will be called simply “Chan Zuckerberg Science.” The goal, Zuck said, is to “cure, prevent, or manage all diseases in our children’s lifetime.” The project will bring together a bunch of scientists, engineers, doctors, and other experts in an attempt to rid the world of disease.
“We want to dramatically improve every life in [our daughter] Max’s generation and make sure we don’t miss a single soul,” Chan said.
Zuck explained that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will work in three ways: bring scientists and engineers together; build tools to “empower” people around the world; and promote a “movement” to fund science globally. The shiny new venture will receive $US3 ($4) billion in funds over the next decade.
The first major project is a $US600 ($795) million investment in something called the Biohub, a new research center at UC San Francisco. Scientists from Stanford and UC Berkeley will also work on the Biohub, which will initially focus on two projects: the Cell Atlas, which will examine the cells that make up our major organs, and the Infectious Disease Initiative, which will delve into treatments for conditions like HIV and Zika.
To be sure, Chan Zuckerberg Science and its enormous fountain of money is a project with a noble goal, and you’d be hardpressed to find anyone who tries to argue otherwise. (Except for, like, maybe Martin Shkreli.) And while Zuck’s initial pronouncement was rather ambitious, he made sure to emphasise that the team simply wants to make the global battle against disease easier.
That doesn’t mean the whole shebang isn’t grandiose as hell, though, particularly when Bill Gates came out as the closer at the even — or when Priscilla left the stage to grab a tissue to stem the flow of tears while she talked about sick kids.
“Can we cure prevent or manage all diseases in our children’s lifetime?” Zuck asked at one point. “This is a big goal,” he said soon after, perhaps answering his own question.
The project will be led by Cori Bargmann, a neurobiologist who will carry the title “President of Science.” It’s not God, but it will do.