Oculus CTO Steps Down, Will Focus on Artificial Intelligence

Oculus CTO John Carmack is stepping down to a consulting position within the company as he begins work on AI development.


John Carmack, the CTO for Oculus (the company that developed the VR tech and headset Oculus Rift), has announced that he will be stepping down from his position starting this week. Carmack’s full statement on the matter, which he posted on Facebook through his Twitter account, clarified his new position and direction within Oculus.

He will be moving to a consulting CTO position in which he will still have a voice in the development work. But for the brunt of his time, he’ll be working on artificial general intelligence (AGI).

You can read the full statement below:

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.

The official Oculus Twitter account also released a statement as they congratulated Carmack’s move, expressing their gratitude that he would stay on board with the company. It also referenced his “Victorian Gentleman Scientist” joke, which is a nice personal touch:

A Facebook spokesperson told Variety that Carmack would stay on as a employee for the social media network:

The nature of his work at Facebook will remain the same and he will pursue a number of projects. He will continue to advise us on strategy and technical feasibility through building proofs of concept, and as always, advocating for our users. For example, he will continue working on projects that maximize visual quality within a limited mobile compute budget.

Carmack joined Oculus in 2013 as its CTO, and stayed on after Facebook acquired the VR company for $2 billion in the following year. He’s had an outsized influence on the VR space, driving both practical implementations for devices like Samsung’s Gear VR and the Oculus Quest as well as next-generation advancements.

His annual Oculus Connect keynote talks about how advancements in VR have long been a key measure for technical achievements and future challenges for the industry.

In terms of recent video game news, Oculus Quest users can play with and experience Oculus Rift content through their gaming PC by using a high-quality (and probably super long) USB cable. That same Oculus Connect 6 event also revealed a VR Medal of Honor game from RespawnEntertainment and a release date for Insomniac’s Stormland. Regarding the Oculus Quest, you can read thoughts on it from our very own Cameron Hawkins right here.


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Allisa James

Senior Weekend Staff Writer for DualShockers. Loves JRPGs, artbooks, and anime.

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