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A top Facebook VR exec is stepping down as Oculus CTO to become a ‘Victorian Gentleman Scientist’ working on AI (FB)

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A top Facebook VR exec is stepping down as Oculus CTO to become a ‘Victorian Gentleman Scientist’ working on AI (FB)

Category : entrepreneur

  • The Oculus executive John Carmack is leaving his post as chief technology officer to work on artificial intelligence.
  • The legendary game programmer is stepping away from his position at the top of Facebook’s virtual-reality unit, though he says he will remain a “consulting CTO.”
  • Carmack will now focus his time on working on artificial general intelligence, a branch of AI focusing on building flexible, human-like intelligence with machines.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The high-level Facebook executive and legendary game programmer John Carmack is stepping away from his role as chief technology officer at Facebook’s virtual-reality unit, Oculus, to focus on artificial-intelligence research.

In a post on Facebook on Wednesday, Carmack announced that he was transitioning to a “consulting CTO” role and would work on artificial general intelligence, a branch of AI research focusing on building flexible, human-like intelligence.

“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,” he wrote. “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.”

A Facebook representative stressed that Carmack would remain at Facebook, albeit in this new role. There are no plans to hire a new CTO for Oculus, the person said.

Carmack’s departure represents the latest exit or transition by a respected leader at a company acquired by Facebook. Over the past few years, the founders and heads of businesses including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus have steadily left Facebook as their products have been more closely integrated into the social-media giant; Carmack wasn’t a founder of Oculus, but he joined it early in its life, before Facebook acquired it for $2 billion in 2014, and remained at the helm as CTO since then.

The 49-year-old technology exec is a legend in the video game industry, cofounding Id Software, the studio responsible for megahits like “Doom,” before joining Facebook.

Here’s Carmack’s full goodbye post on Facebook:

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.

Do you work at Oculus or Facebook? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.)

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Sammy Singh

Global VC, Founder, and entrepreneur extraordinaire as featured in Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg, and Forbes. Sammy Singh is a graduate of UCLA and Wharton School of Business as well as a former student of Loyola University of Chicago. Sammy is best known as a renowned financial technology global entrepreneur and has founded over 26 different firms across industry and all over the world. He is a venture capitalist,a TV/ Film actor, tax specialist, and marketing solutions strategist. Connect with Sammy Singh on social media below! www.linkedin.com/in/cfo www.instagram.com/champagnegqpapi www.facebook.com/officialsammysingh www.twitter.com/cxosynergy www.medium.com/@sammysingh www.crunchbase.com/sammysingh

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