Connect 2021: Some Thoughts After Viewing the John Carmack Keynote

See also my thoughts on the Mark Zuckerberg keynote.

Now obviously the metaverse is the dominant topic of the day, and I was quoted all the way back in the 90s as saying that building the metaverse is a moral imperative, and even back then most people missed that I was actually making a movie reference, but I was at least partially serious about that. I really do care about it and I buy into the vision, but that leaves many people surprised to find out that I have been pretty actively arguing against every single metaverse effort that we have tried to spin up internally in the company from even pre-acquisition times.

You know, I want it to exist, but I have pretty good reasons to believe that..setting out to build the metaverse is not actually the best way to wind up with the metaverse…

The metaverse is a honeypot trap for architecture astronauts.

—John Carmack, Connect 2021 keynote

John Carmack is the former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Oculus VR, and I had a friend recommend I watch his keynote address from yesterday’s Connect virtual event, so I sat down with a big cup of black coffee to hear what he had to say.

John Carmack is a heavy hitter at Facebook (sorry, Meta) and he usually gives a keynote at Connect. John stepped down as CTO in 2019, taking on the role of Consulting CTO in order to focus more on his artificial intelligence projects.

John was very happy with the launch of the Oculus Quest 2, calling it “better, faster, cheaper—one of those just rare combinations that you you almost never get to have in a product.”

He said he was gently pushing back on the push towards cloud VR rendering, stating that there are still a lot of challenges associated with it. He also said that there were a lot of internal battles over the App Lab, too. He speaks about the internal dissent within Meta over releasing the 120Hz framerate option for the Oculus Quest 2 as well.

John is not afraid to call a spade a spade, and disclose where there has been behind-the-scenes tension and disagreement within the company, which is why so many people look forward to his candid keynotes! In particular (as the quote I highlighted up top indicates), it’s clear John has some reservations about Mark Zuckerberg’s push to repivot Meta as a metaverse company.

All in all, this video is a valuable and refreshing counterpoint to Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote and I would encourage you to watch it in full!


Thanks to Freelight for the heads up!

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