News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

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.

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