During a public debate between Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman at Stanford University, Thiel fired at Hoffman by declaring, “Crypto is Libertarian, A.I. is Communist.” The debate, which was the first event in the Cardinal Conversations series, focused primarily on the topics of politics and emerging technology.
Thiel has, in the past, been a very vocal advocate of President Trump, stating that Trump fit Thiel’s description of the kind of candidate that was “both extremely pessimistic and motivational.” [Emphasis his]
Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn, is essentially Thiel’s antithesis, having joined his liberal peers in financing Leftist candidates and causes, as well as serving as an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s failed (I never get tired of typing that) 2016 presidential campaign.
Thiel said Silicon Valley’s progressive liberalism is actually hindering progress and innovation, noting that tech companies are “playing the political game,” and doing so very poorly.
You’re really in trouble when you get liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans to agree, and both parties start to come after you.
Hoffman did not disagree.
Thiel built his case on the fact that Marxist regimes use a centralized economy, while cryptocurrencies, by nature, are typically decentralized, open-source projects, available to all, and beyond the reach of greedy Big Government. If anyone is dissatisfied with a cryptocurrency, they can simply “fork” the code into an entirely new project of their own, allowing absolute freedom of innovation.
Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, is privately-licensed software built on the foundations of big data, and big data is owned by big tech. Google, Facebook and Amazon are leading the way in AI development due in large part to the astronomical amount of data they have collected on their users and customers. Analysis of user behavior, search histories, trends and other consumer data has played a key role in the advancement of machine learning.
Kim Jong Un could quite easily use AI to predict anything from projected farmers’ yields to which urban areas and types of citizens are more prone to revolt against his dictatorship. All built on big tech data, and accomplished via the same technology being celebrated as the biggest advancement in human history. As Thiel says, “the Chinese Communist Party hates crypto and loves AI.”