Thinks 441

FT on Peter Thiel: “Thiel is a committed Christian, and his worldview was shaped by French philosopher René Girard, who he studied under at Stanford University. According to Girard’s mimetic theory, most people’s desires are copied from others, a habit that ultimately leads to conflict. Only true originality — in Thiel’s view, fuelled by technology innovation — can carry humanity beyond these destructive limits. “It’s a Plato/Socrates thing,” says one ally. “Everyone who is close to [Thiel] knows Girard inside and out.” Ironically, that hints at an intellectual conformity that Thiel detests. Taking a cue from Girard, he has long argued that tech start-ups have given up on innovation and prefer to copy each other. And in Washington, says an acquaintance, “He looks at the Republican party and says, ‘This institution is frozen in time’.”

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Tyler Cowen: “How will we stop our new and often splendid technologies from being weaponized against us? I use the term weaponization quite literally — drone attacks, cyberattacks, hostile uses of artificial intelligence, and attacks from space, bioweapons and more. It’s good that the world is emerging from a period of technological stagnation, but therein lies a danger: It is a general principle of world history that new technologies, even the most beneficial ones, are eventually used either as weapons themselves or as instruments of warfare. That was true of the horse, the railroad, the airplane and, of course, nuclear power. It likely will be true for these new developments, too.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.