April 1, 2023
John Carmack’s AGI startup raises $20M from Sequoia Nat Friedman Patrick Collison and others-featured

Game creator John Carmack, who co-founded id Software and served as CTO of Oculus, is working on a new project and has already secured investment from some notable figures.

Carmack said on Friday that his new company, Keen Technologies (perhaps a nod to i”Commander d’s Keen”), had secured $20 million from former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman and Cue founder Daniel Gross in a fundraising round. He stated investors in the round include renowned venture firm Sequoia, co-founder and CEO of Stripe Patrick Collison, co-founder and CEO of Shopify Tobi Lütke, and others.

“This is a conscious effort on my part to concentrate. I could sign a $20 million check on my own, but knowing that other people’s money is on the line makes me more focused and disciplined. I am pleased Nat pushed me on it since I had been thinking about doing it for a long,” he said in a tweet.

Artificial general intelligence, or AGI, is a class of AI systems that can ostensibly carry out any work that a person can. Contrast that with current AI systems, which are built for specialised, limited uses like creating art, operating vehicles, and playing video games. AGI may be accomplished within the next century, according to some optimists, because of new algorithmic methodologies and more potent computer technology. Others have questioned whether AGI will ever become a reality, including Yann LeCun, the head scientist at Carmack’s present workplace.

Carmack seems to be solidly in the side of the hopeful. In a recent podcast interview with MIT research scientist Lex Fridman, he expressed his belief that artificial intelligence (AI) would eventually develop to the point where it can function like a person or other living thing and become a “universal remote worker.”

“I do not support fast takeoffs… However, I believe that we will go beyond the stage where we begin to notice [AI-powered] objects that convincingly resemble animals, according to Carmack. “I believe that animal intellect is more comparable to human intelligence than most people would want to believe, and… There is just that uniform spectrum of how the brain evolved, with cortices and scaling of various things.

Carmack continues by saying that Sam Altman, who he claims attempted to get him to join OpenAI, was a contributing factor in his interest in AGI. (Altman is one of the founding members of OpenAI, a renowned San Francisco-based AI research centre.) Altman, who has previously said that he believes artificial intelligence will eventually exceed human intellect, has been outspoken about his worries about AGI, particularly how it may harm civilization if constructed or employed improperly.

Carmack said that he would still advise with Meta on VR-related issues but that he will spend just 20% of his time working for the social media behemoth. In order to spend more time studying AI, Carmack moved to a “consulting CTO” job at Oculus in November 2019.

Not only Carmack but several renowned technologists have lately launched ambitious AI startups. Inflection AI, a firm that aims to convert human interactions into a language computers can comprehend, has been under development for about a year by Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn, and Mustafa Suleyman, a founding member of DeepMind. Dario Amodei, a former vice president of research at OpenAI, is one of the company’s founders. Anthropic has been researching the behaviour of AI text-generating systems like OpenAI’s GPT-3 throughout the most of 2021 and into this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *