John Carmack Steps Down at Oculus, Will Tackle AI

Posted on November 14, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Games with 4 Comments

Developer icon John Carmack announced that he is stepping down as Oculus CTO so that he can focus on artificial general intelligence (AGI).

“When I think back over everything I have done across games, aerospace, and VR, I have always felt that I had at least a vague ‘line of sight’ to the solutions, even if they were unconventional or unproven,” Carmack wrote of his future. “I have sometimes wondered how I would fare with a problem where the solution really isn’t in sight. I decided that I should give it a try before I get too old.”

Carmack says that he has what he feels is a “non-negligible chance of making a difference” in his pursuit of artificial general intelligence (AGI), which I think of as “full AI,” where a machine can literally understand or learn anything that a human being can. By contrast, the AI we see today in digital assistants and the like is “weak AI” or “narrow AI.”

Carmack is, of course, most famous for his seminal and award-winning work at Id Software, where he led the development of several major, trend-setting 3D games—Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, and Quake key among them—and related technologies. He joined Oculus in 2013, and says that he will move to a “Consulting CTO” position with the firm that will “only be consuming a modest slice of [his] time.”

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