John Carmack and Rich Sutton partner to accelerate development of Artificial General Intelligence

(L to R:) Amii Chief Scientific Advisor Rich Sutton with John Carmack and Cam Linke.

John Carmack, celebrated software engineer and founder of Keen Technologies, and Dr. Richard Sutton, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) announce a partnership to bring greater focus and urgency to the creation of artificial general intelligence (AGI).

This partnership is the first public milestone for Keen Technologies, following its initial funding announcement in August of 2022. The initial $20M round was led by Nat Friedman, Danial Gross, Patrick Collision, Tobi Lutke, Jim Keller, Sequoia Capital, and Capital Factory. In December 2022, Carmack departed as consulting CTO at Meta to focus his efforts on AGI.

Sutton is the principal founder of the field of reinforcement learning. His work with Keen Technologies advances previously announced research priorities to understand basic computational intelligence. Through this work, documented in part in The Alberta Plan, Sutton seeks to understand and create long-lived computation agents that interact with a vastly more complex world and come to predict and control their sensory input signals.

“I am excited to partner with John and the rest of the team at Keen Technologies. John is a powerful intellect and one of the world's greatest system engineers. We have different backgrounds and strengths but a common view of what is needed to understand and create an artificial mind.”

Dr. Richard Sutton, Chief Scientific Advisor, Amii

“The AI space is awash in capital, compute, and data, but it is still dominated by fashions that may yet hinder important breakthroughs. Rich and I both stand somewhat outside the mainstream, with a focus on agency and the temporal as central themes. Rich’s body of work was formative to my AI education; being able to work directly with him is an unexpected delight.”

John Carmack, Founder, Keen Technologies

“Amii is proud to support our Chief Scientific Advisor and friend, Rich Sutton, in his partnership with Keen Technologies," said Cam Linke, CEO of Amii. "Rich is a deep, intentional researcher and pioneer in AI and has led the field for decades. Both Rich and John have each had enormous impacts on their respective fields and it is exciting to see two tech visionaries, who are optimistic about AI’s future, team up to move artificial intelligence forward.”

Carmack and Sutton are deeply focused on developing a genuine AI prototype by 2030, including establishing, advancing and documenting AGI signs of life.

Sutton will retain his current roles as Amii’s Chief Scientific Advisor, a Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada CIFAR AI Chair, and an Amii Fellow based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

About John Carmack

John Carmack defined the now ubiquitous “first-person shooter” gaming genre at Id Software with Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake, while pioneering the adoption of many computer graphic techniques, including binary space partitioning, light mapping, tangent space bump-mapping, and megatexturing. His early involvement with the creation of GPUs to accelerate 3D gaming has now come full circle with their use to accelerate AI.

At Armadillo Aerospace, he built reusable rocket ships, both autonomous and piloted, with a wide variety of propulsion and control systems.

In 2012, he ushered in the modern era of virtual reality with the Oculus Rift prototype, using GPU distortion compensation and TimeWarp temporal reprojection technologies to enable low-cost systems to outperform exotic professional ones. He went on to champion the development of mobile, all-in-one VR systems at Meta, leading to the current Meta Quest line.

In 2022, he founded Keen Technologies to work on the fundamental challenges of AGI.

For his technical work, John has been awarded two Emmys, a BAFTA fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Game Developers Conference, and is in the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

Keen Technologies has a globally distributed team based in Dallas, TX, United States of America.

About Dr. Richard Sutton

Richard S. Sutton is one of the pioneers of reinforcement learning, a field in which he continues to lead the world. Over his career, he has made several significant contributions, including the theory of temporal-difference learning, the actor-critic (policy gradient) class of algorithms, the Dyna architecture (integrating learning, planning and reacting), the Horde architecture, and gradient and emphatic temporal-difference algorithms. He was the original founder of the Reinforcement Learning & Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Alberta, and he is co-author of Reinforcement Learning: An Introduction, the standard textbook on reinforcement learning, now in its second edition. Sutton has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of Canada, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Association (CAIAC), where he also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. His publications have been cited more than 130,000 times. He has been featured in popular publications such as Science, the Economist, the New York Times, the Wallstreet Journal, and Bloomberg’s Hello World.

Watch "The Alberta Plan for Research" session presented by Amii Fellows Rich Sutton, Michael Bowling, and Patrick Pilarski at Upper Bound 2023.

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