Home Technology Oculus tech office John Carmack to move away from VR and into Artificial General Intelligence

Oculus tech office John Carmack to move away from VR and into Artificial General Intelligence

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Just this week, Oculus Chief Technology Officer, half-heartedly accepted an award for a lifetime achievement in VR, because he hasn’t “been satisfied with the pace of progress that we’ve been making.”

It looks like he’s unhappy enough with it that’s he’s effectively leaving VR behind. In a post of Facebook, Carmack said that he’s transition to a “consulting” position within the VR company, and will be moving towards making Artificial General Intelligence a reality.

“Starting this week, I’m moving to a “Consulting CTO” position with Oculus,” Carmack said. “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 reference, Artificial General Intelligence is different to the sort of stuff that’s peddled as AI. It refers to getting machines to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human can; genuine artificial intelligence. It’s the first step towards robotic consciousness, Skynet, and the downfall of humanity as we know it. Sort of poetic that one of the people behind Doom would be responsible for ours. Machines that have genuine AGI would have to be able to:

  • reason, use strategy, solve puzzles, and make judgments under uncertainty;
  • represent knowledge, including commonsense knowledge;
  • plan;
  • learn;
  • communicate in natural language;
  • and integrate all these skills towards common goals

That would make whatever Carmack winds up working on smarter than Darryn.

Last Updated: November 14, 2019

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