Billionaire Peter Thiel on Trade & Tariffs, Bitcoin, Privacy, and Trump (video)

President Trump Signs a Presidential Memorandum Targeting China's Economic Aggression

The WhiteHouse.gov video above published Mar 22, 2018

Billionaire Peter Thiel: Innovation, Bitcoin and Politics (2018)

Interview Date:15 March 2018
Event: The Economic Club of New York

An interview with billionaire venture capitalist and co-founder Valar Ventures, Peter Thiel. In this interview with Maria Bartiromo, Thiel discusses how to create innovation and what future innovation he would invest in. He also talks about Bitcoin, privacy, trade and tariffs, and why he supports President Trump.

On privacy (starts at 30:00):
Question: I want to ask you your thoughts on privacy at a time when these technology companies are so successful, more successful and more powerful than they ever have been in terms of having so much information on all of us, you backed Hulk Hogan's successful triumph over Gawker Media and that sex tape that they resulted in a 140 million dollar judgment against Gawker forcing the media company into bankruptcy. You're a libertarian, I want to get your take on how you see the privacy issues versus this powerful position so many of these technology companies are in. I'm leaning to a question about regulation but first why was this Gawker situation so important to you?
Answer: "Well I think that I'm very proud of having supported Hulk Hogan in his in his a successful lawsuit, you know this sort of egregious [conduct], the claim that you know a pornographer pays people for sex tapes and a journalist is someone who gets to publish sex tapes without paying people that's simply an insult to journalists and that's what that is what Gawker was in effect arguing. You know there is a First Amendment we believe in, free speech, but that doesn't mean that you get to steal a sex tape made in the privacy of a bedroom and post it on the internet for everybody to see and ... of course we have a Fourth Amendment which protects you against unreasonable search and seizure not just by the government but certainly also by by private actors ... I'd seen them [Gawker] you know bully and mistreat people for you know for a long time and I thought it was going to continue ... this ongoing tortious behavior was simply going to continue and someone needed to to try to say stop ...

"This question about privacy in the digital era is something that deserves to be rethought a lot and it's not a matter of technological determinism. We often like to tell these technologically determinist stories where if you are pro privacy you are a Luddite and that privacy is an old-fashioned concept, it went out the window and it's no longer possible in the technological world.

"I don't think that's true. I think it is not always just a technological question. It's a legal question, it's a cultural, social, political question and I think that we're going to have a balance that will be, it will protect more privacy in the future. Now I do think that what Gawker did and what the big tech companies are doing is very different. I mean I think one very basic difference is if you voluntarily give the information, that's quite different from from it being sort of illegally obtained and sort of privacy violating way, but I think these things are always open to be rethought ... as a libertarian I always dislike regulation and worry the regulators will do whatever they will do in an even more ham-handed way and will make mistakes even greater than the companies ... but I would agree with you, that if they don't take these issues seriously, there is a risk they will be regulated whether that's a good thing or not. I think the threat is probably greater in Europe and again there's sort of good reasons and bad reasons. Good reasons are these privacy concerns. The bad reasons are that there are no successful [big] tech companies in Europe and they're jealous of the U.S. and ... they're punishing us, so it's sort of a combination of good and bad reasons but I think the tech industry needs to take this stuff [privacy] very seriously."

See also: Peter Thiel on Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Competition (video)

Video Segments:
0:00 Introduction 5:46 How do you see technology changing from here?
13:51 What creates innovation?
15:59 Why have you moved to L.A?
17:20 Why did you support Trump?
19:42 Policies you want to see?
21:57 Views on trade?
24:52 China?
27:15 Are you worried about a trade war?
28:35 Europe? [Editor's note: Thiel comments about U.S. (Trump) vs. China and Germany]
29:59 Thoughts on privacy of technology companies?
33:12 Should there be more regulation?
34:46 Bitcoin? 39:08 Why do you not like other Cryptocurrencies?
40:30 If its price declined, would you buy?
41:42 Thoughts on Space travel?
43:52 Growth stories today?
47:26 Are robots taking over a lot of jobs? [AI]
49:08 Can anyone beat Amazon?
51:43 Other ferocious company?
52:04 Does Trump get a second term?
55:59 Media business?

Transcript (auto-generated, unedited):

Peter Thiel's Book: Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel’s Favorite Books:
  • 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith
  • Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
  • Resurrection from the Underground: Feodor Dostoevsky (Studies in Violence, Mimesis, & Culture) 
  • Sir Francis Bacon: The New Atlantis

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