John Carmack is a legend in the video game community, having co-founded id Software and taken the lead on ground-breaking games such as Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D, Rage and others. More recently, he has held the role of CTO at Oculus VR.
Now, in a Facebook post, Carmack has announced he is resigning his position to pursue AI research. He plans on being a “consulting CTO” for Oculus, but only in a modest role.
“Starting this week, I’m moving to a ‘Consulting CTO’ position with Oculus.
“I will still have a voice in the development work, but it will only be consuming a modest slice of my time.
“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).
“I think it is possible, enormously valuable, and that I have a non-negligible chance of making a difference there, so by a Pascal’s Mugging sort of logic, I should be working on it.
“For the time being at least, I am going to be going about it ‘Victorian Gentleman Scientist’ style, pursuing my inquiries from home, and drafting my son into the work.
Runner up for next project was cost effective nuclear fission reactors, which wouldn’t have been as suitable for that style of work. 😊”
If Carmack’s new focus has even a fraction of the success he’s enjoyed in the gaming industry, the AI field will likely reap significant benefits from his participation.