Technological innovation is the most important thing that developing countries should focus on, says Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist and PayPal founder. In his most recent Big Think interview, Thiel tells us that greater investment in technology could solve many of the United States' problems, including the budget deficit. "If you doubled the debt over the next 20 years in the U.S. and the size of the economy doubled because of technological progress and growth, the two would roughly cancel out and it would all be a totally manageable situation," he says.
But he thinks the U.S. government—and any government, for that matter—does not adequately encourage technological investment. In fact, heavily regulated industries tend to be the least innovative, he says, pointing to transportation, health care, and energy. One possible solution could be a new initiative called Seasteading, which Thiel has backed with a $1 million investment. Seasteading refers to building communities in the middle of the ocean using oil rig technology. These isolated communities would be free to develop their own laws and might be incubators for technological and political innovation, he believes.
Thiel, who is an investor in Big Think, also discusses his controversial program which encourages budding entrepreneurs to "stop out" of college for two years to build a company. "The idea of becoming an entrepreneur is something that is not taught very well in school," Thiel says. Furthermore, the burden of college debt makes young people less likely to take risks. "Technological innovation requires risk and sacrifice, and it may be very hard to do that if you have this enormous debt burden to try to repay," he says.
Finally, Thiel commented on "The Social Network," the much-lauded film about Facebook that hit theaters in October. Thiel, the first outside funder of Facebook, was depicted as something of a villain—cunningly cutting Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin out of the company. But he says the film was a Hollywood "caricature of capitalism." Saverin was "not remotely doing his job," says Thiel. And in the end, Saverin ended up doing "extraordinarily well relative to what he had done."
From computer hacking to biohacking, Dave Asprey has embarked on a quest to reverse the aging process.
- As a teenager, founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, began experiencing health issues that typically plague older adults.
- After surrounding himself with anti-aging researchers and scientists, he discovered the tools of biohacking could dramatically change his life and improve his health.
- He's now confident he'll live to at least 180 years old. "It turns out that those tools that make older people young make younger people kick ass," he says.
French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
- French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
- Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
A new study estimated the untapped potential of wind energy across Europe.
- A new report calculated how much electricity Europe could generate if it built onshore wind farms on all of its exploitable land.
- The results indicated that European onshore wind farms could supply the whole world with electricity from now until 2050.
- Wind farms come with a few complications, but the researchers noted that their study was meant to highlight the untapped potential of the renewable energy source in Europe.