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 Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity

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ArtificialThought

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PostSubject: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Sun 08 Nov 2009, 2:19 pm

Peter Thiel at Singularity Summit 2009 -- Macroeconomics and Singularity from Michael Anissimov on Vimeo.

Peter Thiel is a venture capitalist and co-founder of Paypal. He is also a libertarian.

"Singularity" refers to the idea that technological progress is accelerating, and that the near future holds a point where the world will explode with incredible advances in biotech, nanotech, life-extension, A.I., robotics, and other fields that take us to a new type of society with a richer lifestyle and without the discomforts of today.

There are many points that critics can argue, mostly dealing with the "runaway", uncontrolled nature of robots, biotech, or the "gray goo" nanotechnology. Number 5 on Peter's list happens to be "a totalitarian state where we are all controlled by computers". However, his thesis is that 1) technological advancement is key to the required 8% investment returns that so many depend on (e.g., pension funds), 2) one of the catastrophic events is not the problems that technology can bring, but rather the possibility of the lack of sufficient progress towards the singularity, like if it happens too slowly. He also mentions that the lack of growth has some responsibility for the economic crisis in the past two years, as the housing bubble was an attempt to resurrect the returns promised in the technology boom (bubble) of 1998-2001. The change to no-growth would not be a cataclysmic event, but may involve having to save 40% of income and move the retirement age to 80.

Personally I think that regardless of one's stance in this area, it's interesting to hear the arguments.
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PostSubject: Re: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Sun 08 Nov 2009, 4:46 pm

The last question at 39 minutes is interesting.

"...historians date the dawn of the information age in 1933 Berlin. And I'm wondering if there is a danger in today's economic crisis that the singularity will pass into a totalitarian system and it won't come out of a free market or a democracy."

Peter Thiel: Yes (emphasis: strong). ...
<clapping in the audience>
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PostSubject: Re: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Mon 09 Nov 2009, 1:20 pm

Now this is going to be interesting.

With respect to the question, I wonder what Thiel is doing about this issue, because if he was really doing something about it, I don't see how he'd get invited to such a conference.

Well, I'll watch with great interest. Thanks for posting.

PS. I was able to post the Vimeo clip here using the Flash button


FYI, Here is the code that I inserted to display the video
Code:
[flash(400,265)]http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=7339317[/flash]
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PostSubject: Re: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Mon 09 Nov 2009, 9:30 pm

Thiel helped fund that kid that did that did the ACORN Sting, as well as the Taxpayers Clearing House (see video below). I'd say this is pretty strong evidence that Thiel is part of the game, and part of the problem, just playing a different role. I'll have to watch his presentation to learn more.




Quote :
James O'Keefe, the man who carried out the notorious sting operation against ACORN, has said repeatedly that his work was "absolutely independent". Not true, reports the Village Voice.

In fact, he received funding from a number of conservative donors. His most recent grant, used to make the film, came from PayPal founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel.

Quote :
James O'Keefe, the activist filmmaker who achieved sudden fame for a series of undercover videos recording ACORN workers, has repeatedly said that he is "absolutely independent" and received no outside funding to make his films.

But the Voice has learned that O'Keefe, in fact, has had heavyweight conservative backers who funded the young filmmaker as recently as a few months before his ACORN films were made.

The ACORN videos are actually just the latest of several films O'Keefe has produced and uploaded to YouTube. An earlier film posted in February, "Taxpayers Clearing House" featured nonwhite, working class people being duped by O'Keefe, who led them to believe they had won money in a sweepstakes.

That video was produced with the help of a grant -- said to be about $30,000 [Thiel's spokesman says closer to $10,000 -- see update] -- from Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook -- an investment which made him a billionaire. Thiel is one of Silicon Valley's more interesting figures: a gay man (according to Gawker's "Valleywag") who has railed against the evils of "multiculturalism." He lives in San Francisco and today runs a hedge fund.
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PostSubject: Re: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Wed 11 Nov 2009, 2:31 am

IP wrote:
PS. I was able to post the Vimeo clip here using the Flash button
Ah that's the one I haven't tried, thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Fri 13 Nov 2009, 3:36 am

ArtificialThought wrote:
The last question at 39 minutes is interesting.

"...historians date the dawn of the information age in 1933 Berlin. And I'm wondering if there is a danger in today's economic crisis that the singularity will pass into a totalitarian system and it won't come out of a free market or a democracy."

Peter Thiel: Yes (emphasis: strong). ...
AT,

I wonder what you think of the excerpt (below, from RPF forum), regarding our current state of technological advancement. We know too that DARPA, to name at least one govt. agency, has very advanced, mostly secret, technology--and there are rumors of marvels of scientific discovery hidden by our government that would BOGGLE the mind:

Quote:

We already have the means to travel among the stars. We have things out
in the desert that are 50 years beyond what you could possibly
comprehend. If you have seen it on Star Wars or Star Trek, we’ve been
there done that, or decided it was not worth the effort. We now have
the technology to take ET home. --Ben Rich, former head of Lockheed
Skunkworks
Has Mr. Thiel considered that the Singularity may be playing out IN SECRET now, and even perhaps been proceeding apace for the last 20-30 years or so.

Very interested in your opinion.

Regards.
..
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PostSubject: Re: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Sat 14 Nov 2009, 2:42 am

Hi SH,

Quote :
We already have the means to travel among the stars. We have things out
in the desert that are 50 years beyond what you could possibly
comprehend. If you have seen it on Star Wars or Star Trek, we’ve been
there done that, or decided it was not worth the effort. We now have
the technology to take ET home. --Ben Rich, former head of Lockheed
Skunkworks

I've heard this meme before. There's no proof possible here, and some of the research is well-funded and secret, so it's easy to instill a thought in a person that creates a feeling of awe regarding this area.

It is total bullshit.

Sure, they may have some satellites that can do some cool things, maybe with lasers, but nothing like the quote wants to make you believe.

They do not have anti-matter propulsion engines that can go to another galaxy -- that's ludicrous.

They also do not have A.I. at the human level. We are only now approaching the hardware capabilities that it would require. But it's not only about the hardware.

As far as the singularity, it's just a trend about the exponential growth in information type areas, like computing cycles per second per dollar, or DNA genomes sequenced per year, or computing technology growth in general: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_change

So a lot of the hype there is due to the expectation that technological growth will continue and will be even faster in the near future, when eventually, cool things will start to happen. (Like molecular manufacturing of anything.)

Regards,
-AT
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PostSubject: Re: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Sat 14 Nov 2009, 3:04 am

Many thanks for the interesting reply, and the wiki referral. Smile
So,
no flying Jetsons yet I guess, huh? (BG)
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PostSubject: Re: Peter Thiel on Macroeconomics and Singularity   Wed 25 Nov 2009, 10:19 am

ArtificialThought wrote:
Hi SH,

Quote :
We already have the means to travel among the stars. We have things out
in the desert that are 50 years beyond what you could possibly
comprehend. If you have seen it on Star Wars or Star Trek, we’ve been
there done that, or decided it was not worth the effort. We now have
the technology to take ET home. --Ben Rich, former head of Lockheed
Skunkworks

I've heard this meme before. There's no proof possible here, and some of the research is well-funded and secret, so it's easy to instill a thought in a person that creates a feeling of awe regarding this area.

It is total bullshit.

Sure, they may have some satellites that can do some cool things, maybe with lasers, but nothing like the quote wants to make you believe.

They do not have anti-matter propulsion engines that can go to another galaxy -- that's ludicrous.

They also do not have A.I. at the human level. We are only now approaching the hardware capabilities that it would require. But it's not only about the hardware.

As far as the singularity, it's just a trend about the exponential growth in information type areas, like computing cycles per second per dollar, or DNA genomes sequenced per year, or computing technology growth in general: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_change

So a lot of the hype there is due to the expectation that technological growth will continue and will be even faster in the near future, when eventually, cool things will start to happen. (Like molecular manufacturing of anything.)

Regards,
-AT

Hi again AT :-)

I was thinking along the lines of the piece here in our library, called The Sound of Silence (?).
As one example. Wouldn't something like this constitute a "singularity"--or is that term limited to information/computing innovations.

Sorry to have taken so long to reply!

best regards.
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