Who Remembers Palantir or Anduril? Maybe Peter Thiel?

November 4, 2021

Despite sci-fi stoked fears about artificial general intelligences (AGI) taking over the world, CNBC reports, “Palantir’s Peter Thiel Thinks People Should Be Concerned About Surveillance AI.” Theil, co-founder of Palantir and investor in drone-maker Anduril, is certainly in the position to know what he is talking about. The influential venture capitalist made the remarks at a recent event in Miami. Writer Sam Shead reports:

“Tech billionaire Peter Thiel believes that people should be more worried about ‘surveillance AI’ rather than artificial general intelligences, which are hypothetical AI systems with superhuman abilities. … Those that are worried about AGI aren’t actually ‘paying attention to the thing that really matters,’ Thiel said, adding that governments will use AI-powered facial recognition technology to control people. His comments come three years after Bloomberg reported that ‘Palantir knows everything about you.’ Thiel has also invested in facial recognition company Clearview AI and surveillance start-up Anduril. Palantir, which has a market value of $48 billion, has developed data trawling technology that intelligence agencies and governments use for surveillance and to spot suspicious patterns in public and private databases. Customers reportedly include the CIA, FBI, and the U.S. Army. AGI, depicted in a negative light in sci-fi movies such as ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Ex Machina,’ is being pursued by companies like DeepMind, which Thiel invested in before it was acquired by Google. Depending on who you ask, the timescale for reaching AGI ranges from a few years, to a few decades, to a few hundred years, to never.”

Yes, enthusiasm for AGI has waned as folks accept that success, if attainable at all, is a long way off. Meanwhile, Thiel is now very interested in crypto currencies. For the famously libertarian mogul, that technology helps pave the way for his vision of the future: a decentralized world. That is an interesting position for a friend of law enforcement.

Cynthia Murrell, November 4, 2021


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