The end of the future – Peter Thiel


I write this blog post based on something I’ve read a few days ago on Blendle (Dutch website where you can read news articles for 10 to 50 cents). This article was a profile of Peter Thiel (1967), founder of PayPal who claims the end of the future.

PayPal was founded in 1998 and acquired by eBay in 2002. Peter Thiel personally received around 50 million dollars due to the sale and decided to invest in all kinds of start ups. Peter is a real cocky man. He believes the government is holding us back and that we are therefore in a technological stagnation. Until the seventies we were innovating in a rapid speed and were able to land a man on the moon. Science fiction books predicted we could all live on several planets and have eternal life. Thiel’s investment fund’s motto: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters” to symbolize the innovations we are dealing with today. He claims that innovations within computer science and technology disguises the stagnation on other fields like energy, food, transport and healthcare. We stopped trying to answer the biggest questions in life.

I think his thoughts are kind of pessimistic and don’t agree on the technological stagnation, but do acknowledge there has been a shift from societal innovations to personal innovations. If you look at the biggest companies from the past 10 years (Google, Apple and others) you can see that all of these companies made our life a bit easier, but none really solved the questions for our future as a society.

Going back to the article about Peter Thiel where he explains his tactics involving investments, he doesn’t invest in information technology, but only hard tech start ups. So no new websites or social media.

What do you think? You can read the article provided in the link below (Dutch only). Do you think Peter has a point and we are currently not moving forward? Do you think investments in Facebook, Twitter or other social media start ups are a waste and it should rather be invested in health care issues?

Sources:

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/PayPal

https://blendle.nl/i/de-groene-amsterdammer/het-einde-van-de-toekomst/bnl-groeneamsterdammer-20141008-1_28_1  (Account needed)

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2 responses to “The end of the future – Peter Thiel”

  1. 360727mv says :

    First of all, nice blog with a very interesting issue I think. While reading your blog I though: “Peter Thiel is right, what are we doing…”. But then I realized twitter and Facebook are the result of the invention: internet. Internet makes it possible to communicate with (almost) the whole world without someone’s help. I can interact with someone in Australia about helping a population in Africa, all from the same chair which I am sitting on right now commenting your blog post, that is amazing, don’t you think? Perhaps just as amazing as the first step on the moon and as the first moving car.

    Take the car as example: The car has long been invented, but manufacturers are still making it more comfortable, easier and more fun to drive. They have been doing this since the car was invented (19th century). Isn’t that the same with Facebook, Twitter and so an: making it a bit more comfortable, easier and more fun to interact with the whole world? Both major improvements in (future) society.

    We haven’t stopped trying to answer the biggest questions in life I think. Technology is the same as training a sport, at the beginning you will make big steps with relative little effort, over time you will make much smaller steps with the same, or maybe even more effort.

    The blog post right above your blog supports my statement/answer, don’t you think?

    • 360290vv says :

      That is true, I don’t think we stopped trying, but thought this was an interesting point of view considering all the blog posts about Google Glass, Uber, Spotify or any other hot topics. I’ve read the blog above and must agree, we are still making bigger steps, but perhaps not the ones Peter Thiel or science fiction magazines thought of 30-40 years ago (flying cars etc.).

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