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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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype and is forthcoming from The Laurel Review. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.