John Carmack’s AGI startup has raised $20 million from Sequoia, Nat Friedman and others.

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Some major Silicon Valley names have already invested in John Carmack’s new company, according to reports.

Keen Technologies, which Carmack founded last month, has raised $20 million in a funding round from former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman and Cue founder Daniel Gross, according to Carmack. Stripe co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison, Shopify co-founder and CEO Tobi Lutke, and storied venture fund Sequoia are among those investing in the round, he said.

“It is important to me to focus on this deal, so that other people’s money is on the line and results in a higher level of discipline and determination. I wish Nat had pushed me on this sooner, I am glad he did,” he said in a tweet.

According to some futurists, artificial general intelligence (AGI) is a hypothetical AI programme that can perform any function a human can. As opposed to today’s artificially intelligent systems, which are intended to produce art, drive cars, or play video games, AGI systems could perform any task. Algorithmic developments and increasingly powerful computer hardware are currently fuelling the development of AGI. Others, such as Carmack’s current employer Yann LeCun, are unconvinced.

Meta’s work with Carmack, he said, will still consume 20% of his time, but his work with VR social media, he said, will consume only 10%.

Carmack isn’t the only storied technologist to found an ambitious AI startup recently. For roughly a year, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and founding DeepMind member Mustafa Suleyman have been building Inflection AI, a startup that seeks to translate human interactions into a language computers can understand. Former VP of research at OpenAI Dario Amodei is among the co-founders of Anthropic, which for most of 2021 and into this year has studied the behaviors of AI text-generating systems like OpenAI’s GPT-3.

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