Topics Discussed in Lex Fridman Podcast #309 – Lex Fridman & John Carmack: Programming languages, Modern programming, Day in the life, Hard work, Pizza and Diet Coke, Setup, id Software, Commander Keen, Hacker ethic, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, John Romero, Metaverse, Elon Musk, Mars, Nuclear energy, AGI, Andrej Karpathy, Martial arts, Advice for young people, Meaning of life.

Lex Fridman Podcast: Conversations about science, technology, history, philosophy and the nature of intelligence, consciousness, love, and power. Lex is an AI researcher at MIT and beyond.

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John Carmack

John D. Carmack II (born August 20, 1970) is an American computer programmer and video game developer. He co-founded the video game company id Software and was the lead programmer of its 1990s games Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and their sequels. Carmack made innovations in 3D computer graphics, such as his Carmack's Reverse algorithm for shadow volumes. In 2013, he resigned from id Software to work full-time at Oculus VR as their CTO. In 2019, he reduced his role to Consulting CTO so he could allocate more time toward artificial general intelligence (AGI). In 2022, he left Oculus to work on his startup, Keen Technologies.

Books Mentioned in this Podcast with Lex Fridman & John Carmack:

Book Title: Hackers – Heroes of the Computer Revolution

Author: Steven Levy

Book Title: Doom – Game Engine Black Book

Author: Fabien Sanglard

Book Title: Introduction to Computer Graphics


Book Title: Snow Crash

Author: Neal Stephenson

Book Title: Ready Player One

Author: Ernest Cline

John Carmack on Lex Fridman Podcast: The Evolution of Gaming, Virtual Reality, and AGI

In a marathon episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast, John Carmack, one of the most influential figures in the gaming industry and co-founder of id Software, delves deep into the world of video games, virtual reality, and the future possibilities of artificial general intelligence. With an illustrious career that spans decades, Carmack's insights provide a comprehensive look into the intricate world of programming and technological innovation.

The Birth of 3D Gaming: Doom, Quake, and Beyond

Carmack reminisces about the early days of 3D gaming, highlighting the groundbreaking nature of games like Doom and Quake. He shares anecdotes about the immersive experiences these games provided, evoking intense reactions from players unaccustomed to such realism in gameplay.

Virtual Reality: A Journey with Oculus VR

Transitioning from the realm of gaming, Carmack delves into his tenure as the CTO of Oculus VR. He discusses the challenges and triumphs of creating immersive virtual worlds, giving listeners a glimpse into the technological advancements that are shaping the future of VR and potentially leading towards the concept of a metaverse.

Artificial General Intelligence: The Next Frontier

As the conversation progresses, Carmack touches upon the intriguing subject of artificial general intelligence (AGI). He shares his thoughts on the potential and challenges of AGI, hinting at his growing interest in this domain and its significance for the future of technology.


This extensive episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast offers an in-depth journey into the mind of John Carmack. From the evolution of iconic video games to the frontiers of virtual reality and AGI, Carmack's reflections and insights paint a vivid picture of the past, present, and future of technology.