my interview with peter thiel, and reflections on ‘the diversity myth’ thirty years later; stagnation, from science and economics to faith and politics; and back to the future
Please look into transcripts! Even just unedited ones created by a voice-to-text program would be great.
A Peter Thiel interview is water in the desert. Thank you Mike for building this oasis for pirates. If you have another 15 min, highly recommend my namesake’s warning in 1984 about ideological subversion and the demoralization we are now seeing everywhere: https://youtu.be/Z1EA2ohrt5Q?si=XzNsZB2hDifnzAXe
Very validating to have Peter say that the multiverse and simulation hypothesis are gateway drugs.
Which is why I’m glad I followed the true scientific method of just thinking about it while bull-nosing tile to avoid having to talk to the guy I was working for at the time to conclude that they couldn’t possibly be true as stated.
P.S. Some of you may like this Peter Thiel Interview too: https://www.honestlypod.com/podcast/episode/2e8ceb63/peter-thiel-says-america-has-bigger-problems-than-wokeness
I appreciate the points about land use. I wonder whether traditional engineering has suffered more than computer science because of land use. As I understand it, liberal land use is more important for building tangible things because those companies need to cluster specialized inputs. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/20060313_clusters.pdf. During the reform era in China, for example, we era manufacturing clusters as narrow as “safety footware,” https://www.sourcingarts.com/china-industry-clusters/, which is similar to the industrial geography of the 19th century US. Eg, https://www.jstor.org/stable/214962.
I also wonder about the effective strengthening of patent rights following the consolidation of patent appeals in one especially pro-patent appellate court in 1982. https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/facultyworkingpapers/42/. A single court is easily captured by the patent bar, which favors patents stronger in both technology space and concomitant lawsuit process, for reasons of economic self-interest. (Patent judges are selected from and embedded in networks of patent lawyers to such an extent that patent judges are often romantically involved with patent lawyers.) Stronger patents perversely tend to decrease innovation because they help freeze the existing players in place. Indeed, today’s innovating companies usually begin as copying competitors until they had the tacit know-how and networks to reach the technological frontier in their industry. Eg, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teva_Pharmaceuticals. Entire nations take the same approach, developing industrial capacity by copying and then using that capacity to innovate. Eg, https://www.routledge.com/The-Culture-of-Copying-in-Japan-Critical-and-Historical-Perspectives/Cox/p/book/9780415545396.
Patents theoretically are required disclose their purported advances, but, as anyone who has seen a patent knows, they don’t. They rely mostly on text and strategically drown the key disclosures in unhelpful and untested possible permutations. As the work in engineering is finding which possibility works best, patents by design leave that work to their reader. But even if patents occasionally have useful information, companies ban employees from looking because reviewing the wrong patent can lead to escalating legal liability under the rules (which frown upon “willful” infringement). Moreover, patents cannot transfer the tacit development and manufacturing know-how, embodied in engineering networks, which as discussed above, it built by gradually moving up the value chain from cheap copies to the technology frontier.
Anyway, we have created counterproductive pseudo-property rights that have taken us away from “do what you want with your land and stuff so long as it’s not harming someone else, bodily or in their land or stuff.” In a discursive sense, these 20th century rights are heretical to property rights properly understood. In land use or patents, rights holders invoke the rhetoric of property (“theft”, tragedy of the commons, “I earned this”) for rights that would be worthless absent someone else acting their own land or stuff. These new rights are a heresy of property, in that they play on norms and emotions property provokes, to destroy and mock actual property in land and stuff, to our detriment.
Thanks Mike !
Is there a listen only version of this (not on YouTube?)
This is adorable :)
Also, I had no idea about the book. That’s pretty impressive. Thiel has always had a solid renegade vibe, but it’s still impressive when people in the big leagues remain generally authentic. I’m only quasi informed on this level but I don’t see it a lot.
Do you plan to review Elon’s new biography? Unsure if that’s ur kind of content but I just got it and pretty curious to see how they tackle a few things in it. Esp after reading the last one.
Always wondered why Peter doesn't use social media
First, just having Mike and Peter doing an interview together is incredible. Two legends. Thanks for that!!!
But I have bee in my bonnet.
Imagine telling Jewish people in 1920s that complaining about the racial rhetoric of the Nazis is just making a mountain out of a mole hill. There are bigger, deeper issues. Let’s just focus more on science innovation and have some real conversations about God. Antisemitism is as distraction from the real economic pain of Germans. Would that have worked (fast enough)?
I doubt we are on the cusp of genocide here in the U.S. (yet), but I’m not sure I agree on the diminutive take he has on his own book. Woke culture is a vehicle to deliver a socialist payload (equal outcomes). Socialists have successfully used wedge issues to divide people, promise “social justice,” and seize power before. Standard operating procedure. If you stop the vehicle in its tracks, you stop the payload too. Think: The Gawker Hate Machine.
The greatest existential threat to the human race currently is…us. IMHO, Artificial Intelligence in the hands of maniacal socialist authoritarianism doesn’t bode well. AI will develop whether we like it or not. Who is going to control it? So yeah, China = bad. But the culture war is Ground Zero for that battle here in the states. Peter flatly disagrees. Is it unreasonable to think that if AI is as dangerous as some say, the trending socio-economic philosophy that controls it will determine the future of the human race for a long time to come?
Peter disagrees with this too. Or at least he thinks globalization is just another thesis /antithesis iteration, not a final synthesis. I worry that the consequences of being wrong about that are too great to consider.
That said, I’m not sure a direct assault on contentious issues is the best strategy. It will only serve to further divide people. I guess I’m not offering clear answers…just some thoughts and questions.
Thanks for the interview, Mike. And nice B&W 801s in the background. 😉