You might think that a world in which 1.2 billion people use Facebook every month, 10 million iPhones 6s are sold in a single weekend and 50 billion devices are set to join the Internet of Things by 2020 is a world in which people embrace technology. Not according to Peter Thiel.
In a video interview released by the Financial Times, Thiel says that films like Avatar, Gravity and The Matrix demonstrate that Western societies reject new technology as “dystopian” and “catastrophic” and that “this is true of the population, of our governments, of our culture, of our politics.”
What’s more, says Thiel, government hostility to technological advancement is threatening to stifle progress. “There always are concerns – at which point do these monopolies become bad monopolies? I think people should not be regulating Google at this point, I think Google is still doing more good than bad. And I think that a lot of this derives from the sort of technological angst that emanates from Brussels,” he said.
Thiel’s hostility towards Europe reaches back far beyond their current attempts to regulate data privacy. Two years ago, PayPal joined forces with Google to protest against “Project Oscar,” a proposed tie-in of the European telecoms providers Orange/T-Mobile, O2/Telefonica and Vodafone that heralded significant competition to PayPal and Google’s respective mobile wallet plans.
By levying accusations that this would constitute a monopoly, the two technology giants succeeded in persuading EU anti-trust authorities to investigate, but the project was finally given the go-ahead in September. It seems Thiel is yet to forgive Brussels for their decision.
“I think people in Europe are generally pessimistic about the future, they have low expectations, they’re not working hard to change things. And when you’re a slacker with low expectations, you’re likely to meet those expectations. You don’t want to be a pale emulation of Silicon Valley,” he sniped.
Last week, the EU’s anti-trust investigation into Google, led by Joaquín Almunia, ruled that the company must either improve its search settlement proposals or face formal charges.
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