The celebrated industry veteran will remain a “consulting CTO” at the company.
Facebook has its company flag flying at half-mast this week after it was announced that video game legend John Carmack would be stepping down from his position as Oculus CTO and migrating to a “Consulting CTO role” beginning this week.
In a post made to his personal Facebook page, Carmack stated he would still have a say in development work, but would be scaling back his contributions significantly in order to dedicate more time towards pursuing his passion project of becoming a “Victorian Gentlemen Scientist,” as the industry veteran describes it.
“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,” states Carmack in his post.
“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.”
Carmack joined Oculus in 2013 and worked alongside Palmer Luckey to develop the original Oculus Rift models. Since then the legendary developer/engineer — responsible for classic video game titles such as DOOM, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D — has been a major driving force for the company, earning them a certain level of respect from longtime industry professionals and hardcore fans alike.
Just this past week, Carmack took home the Accenture VR Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s VR Awards, for which he offered a humble speech, albeit slightly uneasy speech.
“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,” stated Carmack during his video acceptance speech. “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.”
As for what’s next for the tireless programmer/developer/engineer, Carmack states he’s looking to expand his already impressive resume to include artificial general intelligence. Sometimes referred to as “Strong AI,” AGI is an advanced form of artificial intelligence capable of learning and understanding intelligent tasks at a human level. It’s the kind of technology that keeps people like Elon Musk up at night.
So, on behalf of everyone who bought an Oculus Quest because you were on board — thank you, John Carmack. We wish you the best of luck in creating the AI apocalypse.
Feature Image Credit: Nancy Newberry, Fortune