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John Carmack steps down as Oculus CTO to explore artificial intelligence

During his time at the VR company, Carmack oversaw the development and commercial launch of the original Oculus Rift headset, its successor the Oculus Rift S, and the standalone Oculus Quest.

John Carmack is stepping down as chief technology officer at Oculus to work independently on artificial intelligence. 

The veteran programmer and engineer joined Oculus VR back in 2013, around four months before the company was acquired by Facebook, and is also known as the co-founder of Quake, Doom, and Wolfenstein developer id Software. 

During his time at the VR company, Carmack oversaw the development and commercial launch of the original Oculus Rift headset, its successor the Oculus Rift S, and the standalone Oculus Quest, with the latter two only arriving earlier this year.

In a post on Facebook, Carmack explained he'll continue to work on some VR projects at Oculus in a "consulting CTO" position, but that those development efforts will only consume "modest slice" of his time.

The rest of his time will be spent exploring the world of artificial general intelligence, which Carmack claims could have "enormously valuable" applications. 

"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," he wrote on Facebook. "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."

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