Ex-executive castigates Mark Zuckerberg’s spending spree

Meta has spared no expense in putting together its metaverse. A former executive of the firm, specializing in virtual reality, said he was firmly opposed to the way in which the company, led by a Mark Zuckerberg full of ambitions, chooses its investments.

John Carmack, former consultant in charge of virtual reality at Meta, gave an interview to Dallas Innovates, a Texan economic media. The engineer was not kind to his previous employer, a few weeks after his controversial resignation:

“I had real problems at Meta with large-scale strategic directions. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the headlines about how much money they’re spending, and I thought big chunks of the budget were really badly spent.”

The engineer refers to the colossal investments of Meta in the metaverse. To position itself in the virtual reality market, the Californian group has indeed spent more than 20 billion dollars in two years. Thanks to this huge budget, Meta has developed Horizon Worlds, a virtual world largely shunned by Internet users, and a range of VR headsets, the Quests. Unfortunately, these investments have not yet increased the company’s profits. The general public is not yet interested in metaverses, and a host of studies demonstrate this.

In the interview, John Carmack does not specify which expenses he strongly disagreed with. Note that the engineer is well placed to assess the suitability of Meta investments. A true pioneer of VR, John Carmack is known for having participated in the design of Meta’s virtual reality headsets. For years he was at the heart of the company’s strategy regarding the metaverse, in part thanks to his work at Oculus.

The end of excess

For the record, John Carmack resigned from Meta last December. On the sidelines of his resignation, the virtual reality expert had already expressed strong dissatisfaction with the company. The former manager had notably considered that Meta is sabotaging its own projects and wasting a “ridiculous amount of people and resources”.

Note that Meta’s spending spree has finally come to an end. Caught up by the economic crisis, the Silicon Valley titan was forced to lower the costs. To achieve this, Meta laid off 13% of its workforce and canceled a handful of projects deemed too expensive. This is the case with the brand’s first augmented reality glasses. The first version, too ruinous for the group’s finances, was aborted, but a second iteration for the general public remains in the cards for a release in 2024.

During the publication of the group’s latest financial results, Mark Zuckerberg also undertook to rationalize the company’s expenses. More realistic than usual, the founder of Facebook promised to make 2023 ” the year of efficiency “. A ” reduction of bureaucracy » and a deletion of “hierarchical layers of management” are planned for the coming months.

Read also: Meta, ChatGPT, Apple headphones… In 2023, will the metaverse finally find meaning?

Heading towards general artificial intelligence

Now freed from Meta, Carmack focuses on general artificial intelligence. Through his start-up, Keen Technologys, he aims to design an intelligence that works in the same way as the human brain.

In the eyes of the computer scientist, this innovation, capable of adapting to all situations, has a 60% chance of seeing the light of day by 2030. It is also the big long-term goal of OpenAIthe company behind ChatGPT, the smart chatbot that has been in the news since December.

Source :

Dallas Innovates