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A Venture Capital Firm Just Named an Algorithm to Its Board of Directors No joke. Here's what it does.

By Rob Wile

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

A Hong Kong VC fund has just appointed an algorithm to its board.

Deep Knowledge Ventures, a firm that focuses on age-related disease drugs and regenerative medicine projects, says the program, called VITAL, can make investment recommendations about life sciences firms by poring over large amounts of data.

Just like other members of the board, the algorithm gets to vote on whether the firm makes an investment in a specific company or not. The program will be the sixth member of DKV's board.

VITAL's software was developed by UK-based Aging Analytics.

"[The goal] is actually to draw attention developing it as an independent decision maker," Deep Knowledge Venture's Charles Groome told BI.

How does the algorithm work?

VITAL makes its decisions by scanning prospective companies' financing, clinical trials, intellectual property and previous funding rounds.

Groome says it has already helped approved two investment decisions (though has not yet cast its first vote), both of which resemble its own function: In Silico Medicine, which develops computer-assisted methods for drug discovery in aging research; and In Silico's partner firm Pathway Pharmaceuticals, which employs a platform called OncoFinder to select and rate personalized cancer therapies.

"It's not what you'd call AI at this stage, but that is the long-term goal," Groome said.

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