One could have predicted Mr. Thiel’s affinity for Mr. Trump by reading his 2014 book, “Zero to One,” in which he offers three prongs of his philosophy:
1) It is better to risk boldness than triviality.
2) A bad plan is better than no plan.
3) Sales matter just as much as product.
How could a gay man back someone who will probably nominate Supreme Court justices inclined to limit rights for gays and women? How could a futurist support a cave man who champions fossil fuels, puts profits over environmental protection and insists that we can turn back the clock on the effects of globalization on American workers?
“There are reduced expectations for the younger generation, and this is the first time this has happened in American history,” Mr. Thiel says. “Even if there are aspects of Trump that are retro and that seem to be going back to the past, I think a lot of people want to go back to a past that was futuristic — ‘The Jetsons,’ ‘Star Trek.’ They’re dated but futuristic.”
It is a theme he has struck before, that Silicon Valley has not fulfilled the old dreams for bigger things. “Cellphones distract us from the fact that the subways are 100 years old,” he says.
So he doesn’t worry about Mr. Trump sending an intemperate tweet and spurring a war with North Korea?
“A Twitter war is not a real war,” Mr. Thiel says.
If the worst fears of annihilation seem plausible, Mr. Thiel can always invest more in his libertarian fantasy of a new society of Seasteads: islands at sea with their own rules, starting with a French Polynesian lagoon. “They’re not quite feasible from an engineering perspective,” he says. “That’s still very far in the future.
Thiel invested $1.7 million in The Seasteading Institute.
On January 13th, 2017, President Fritch came to San Francisco from Tahiti to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Seastead Institute to solidifying the agreement to collaborate on developing the first seastead in a lagoon in French Polynesia.
The pilot will consist of two or three floating platforms linked together and is projected to cost $30 million to $50 Million. Tey anticipate adding many more modules to the pilot in the following years, organically growing into a city, while also spreading the technology for seasteads across French Polynesia, the Pacific, and the world. When launched, our project will bring new technologies, new research, and new economic activity to French Polynesia.
He does think, though, that human violence is more of a risk than a pandemic or robot army. “It’s the people behind the red-eyed robots that you need to be scared of,” he says.
Mr. Thiel is focused on ways to prolong life. He was intrigued by parabiosis, a blood regeneration trial in which people over 35 would receive transfusions from people aged 16 to 25 — an experiment that Anne Rice gave a thumbs up to.
“Out of all the crazy things in this campaign, the vampire accusations were the craziest,” he says, adding that while blood transfusions may be helpful, there may be harmful factors and “we have to be very careful.”
“I have not done anything of the sort” yet, he says about parabiosis. And because of the publicity, he says, he is now sifting through hundreds of proposals he has received from parabiosis ventures.
Mr. Thiel has, however, used human growth hormones and he has signed up for cryogenics. “We have to be more experimental in all our medical procedures,” he says. “We should not go gently into that good night.”
I ask why everyone in Silicon Valley seemed so obsessed with immortality.
“Why is everyone else so indifferent about their mortality?” he replies.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.