John Carmack recently announced he started a new AI startup called Keen Technologies and has raised $20 million in funds. (Image Credit Wikimedia Commons)
John Carmack is at it again! The former CTO of Oculus and id Software co-founder is working on Keen Technologies, a new AI startup. So far, he has raised $20 million from Cue founder Daniel Gross and ex-GitHub CEO Nat Friedman. Others investing in the round include Stripe co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison, Shopify co-founder and CEO Tobi Lütke, and venture fund Sequoia.
“This is explicitly a focusing effort for me. I could write a $20M check myself, but knowing that other people’s money is on the line engenders a greater sense of discipline and determination. I had talked about that as a possibility for a while, and I am glad Nat pushed me on it,” Carmack tweeted.
AGI (Artificial general intelligence) refers to AI systems capable of performing the same tasks as humans. These are different from current AI technologies intended for specific applications, such as video games, cars, and generating art. Some people think AGI could be developed within the next century due to computer hardware and algorithm advances. The rest, such as Yann LeCun, don’t have much hope for humanity achieving AGI.
Meanwhile, Carmack envisions a future with AGI. In a podcast with MIT scientist Lex Fridman, Carmack stated he thinks AI will one day behave very similar to a human or other creature, turning into a “universal remote worker.” “I do not believe in fast takeoffs … but I think that we will go from a point where we start seeing AI-powered things that credibly look like animals,” Carmack said. “I think animal intelligence is closer to human intelligence than a lot of people like to think, and … There’s just that smooth spectrum of how the brain developed and cortexes and scaling of different things going on there.”
Carmack also said Sam Altman, who attempted to bring him aboard OpenAI, partially piqued his AGI interest. Altman, another supporter of the notion that AI will outperform human intelligence, shared his concerns about how AGI could harm society if it’s developed or utilized incorrectly.
Carmack still plans to proceed with Meta consultations for VR purposes, to which he expects to devote 20% of his time. In November 2019, he took on a consulting CTO role at Oculus to research AI. Carmack isn’t alone in starting an AI venture. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and DeepMind founding member Mustafa Suleyman brought up Inflection AI, which focuses on translating human interactions into an understandable computer language. Dario Amodei, former VP of Open AI research, co-founded Anthropic, a startup that studies an AI’s text-generating system’s behavior.
AGI seems like it's the future. Do you, the element14 community, think it's deserving of even more funding and research?