Day Two Speaker: Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel is an investor, co-founder of PayPal before it sold to eBay, and supporter of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He offered advice regarding investing in a world where the possibility of a Technological Singularity exists.

The Singularity suggests to Thiel either profoundly positive or negative outcomes. Since it makes little sense to invest in a negative outcome (one in which the world is ended) and because we cannot currently determine the probability of outcomes, it does make sense to take risks and to invest in positive outcomes. Thiel believes that the technologies and trends that will lead to the Singularity might not be known at this time.

Thiel briefly listed busts and booms of the past couple decades and suggested that rather than becoming less volatile over time, these have actually become more so, with amplitudes between them having become greater. All of these busts and booms suggest to Thiel bets on the Singularity, or proxies likes globalization. As we near the Singularity, these busts and booms will continue and increase.

What then should investors invest in? Thiel suggested investors focus on incipient booms that most people have not yet recognized.

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).