John Carmack is a legend in the gaming world best know by gamers for his work at id Software.
In a post on Facebook on Wednesday, Carmack announced that he is transitioning to a "consulting CTO" role and is going to work on artificial general intelligence, a branch of AI research that focuses on building flexible, human-like intelligence.
Carmack's announcement comes three months after Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell revealed that he was leaving Facebook, and it marks just the latest high-profile executive change for the company's VR unit. Carmack will instead focus on artificial general intelligence (AGI), a specific type of AI that's created to be human-like.
Carmack believes that working on AGI would be "enormously valuable" and that he would have a non-negligible chance at making a difference, albeit in a "Pascal's Mugging sort of logic".
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Carmack, additionally known for his work programming games like Doom and Quake, assumed a generous job in the present age of VR. It's a bit like someone retiring early to dedicate their life full-time to the perpetual motion machine they've nearly got working... except Carmack may actually have a chance to create something remarkable. "I will still have a voice in the development work, but it will only be consuming a modest slice of my time", Carmack said.
Carmack notes that in all the things he has done in games, aerospace, and VR, he has always felt that he had "at least a vague line of sight" to the solutions needed. "I've typically wondered how I'd fare with an issue the place the answer actually isn't in sight", he mentioned of the subject. The move, according to Carmack, is so that he can start working on artificial greater intelligence. "I concluded that I should try it out before I get excessively old".
Whether Facebook will name a new full-time CTO for Oculus is unclear.