Carmack is stepping down from his position as Oculus CTO to allocate more time to his AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) endeavor. (Image credit: Flikr via Wikipedia)


John Carmack recently announced his decision to leave his position at Facebook’s subsidiary Oculus to focus on developing AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), although he states he will remain a consulting CTO and will “still have a voice” for the VR company. A Facebook spokesperson in a Variety interview indicated that John would also continue to work on some of Oculus’ VR projects as well, including those that will “maximize visual quality within a limited mobile compute budget.”


When someone like Carmack head into another direction, I think it’s best to say that’s the direction to go.


Look at the direction he went with 3D engines, and how that changes the world. Then with privatized space vehicle design and later VR. All changed the world.


Carmack, in a Facebook post, explains, “As for what I am going to be doing with the rest of my time: 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. 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. I’m going to work on artificial general intelligence (AGI).”


Carmack is going to tackle the project “Victorian Gentlemen Scientist” style and conscript his son into the endeavor. AGI is a form of artificial intelligence that’s capable of learning any intellectual task the same way humans can. The requirements for realizing AGI are varied among engineers, but most tend to agree on the following criteria- it must be able to reason (use strategy, solve puzzles, and make judgments when uncertain), represent knowledge/common sense knowledge, be able to plan, be capable of learning, communicate in natural language, and apply all of those skills toward a common goal.


With that said, it’s unclear what Carmack will be working on, or what projects he has in the works for AGI, but it seems like a fundamental shift is happening around the technology if a prominent engineer and programmer is interested in tackling the subject, certainly so when that form of AI is still in its infancy. It will be interesting to see what he can produce with his developments.


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