COSM 2021 is the place to be, November 10–12, to get the inside track on the converging technologies remaking the world as we know it. This year, iconic Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel will be speaking in person, addressing the question “Is Technology Soaring or Slumping?”
At the first COSM in October 2019, Peter Thiel spoke by interactive video. Not one to mince words, he told the attendees bluntly that Silicon Valley is losing its touch and compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst. He has a remarkable history in both areas.
He has been a prime mover in PayPal, Facebook, Palantir, Airbnb, Lyft, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. And he had intended to found a university. But, after seeing what happened to so many founders’ intentions, he ended up giving gifted entrepreneurs grants to drop out of university and just go do it. He also he moved from San Francisco down to Los Angeles in 2018, fed up with the Valley as an apparent one-party state. He also suggested in 2019 that Google be investigated for treason for refusing to work with the Pentagon but helping the Chinese military:
Timely words, considering that China, with whom the Valley has been cozy for so long, has seized the opportunity of the COVID-19 pandemic to simply invade Hong Kong and put an end to its democratic aspirations. The Valley is now squirming to avoid sharing in the crackdown on the gallant HongKongers as the cost of continuing to do business with China.
His fundamental question, “How can Google use the rhetoric of ‘borderless’ benefits to justify working with the country whose ‘Great Firewall’ has imposed a border on the internet itself?”, is especially timely because China’s government uses high tech for, among other things, sophisticated racial profiling.News, “Valley insider Peter Thiel’s comments last year proved prophetic” at Mind Matters News (July 10, 2020)
Thiel is also the author of Zero to One (2014) on startups. You can read short excerpts here.
The early adopter rate for COSM 2021 is available until September 15.
Here’s the interactive talk from last year, as a discussion with tech philosopher George Gilder:
Note: COSM 2019 was titled A National Technology Summit: AI, Blockchain, Crypto, and Life After Google — sponsored by the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence at the Discovery Institute, hosted by technology futurist George Gilder, (October 23–25).