Paypal cofounder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel took the stage at Demo in San Jose, California, on Thursday to discuss his new book “Zero To One.”
Someone from the audience asked him what the one core insight into the universe he has that is most at odds with Silicon Valley conventional wisdom.
Thiel joked that there are a bunch of things that he believes are contrary to what people in the Valley believe, and that it would be “dangerous” to say one that he is radically at odds with.
Instead he chose to elaborate on one that he’s “somewhat at odds with,” but is important all the same.
“I think in Silicon Valley we always talk about how much technological progress is happening, how we’re living in this age of accelerating technological progress in one way or another,” he said. “I do not believe that by and large we’re living in a scientific or technological age at all.”
On the contrary, he said, people actually hate science and technology. “We live in a society that is dominated by hatred and dislike of all things scientific and technological.”
As proof, he offers up all the sci-fi movies that have come out over the years that show how technology doesn’t work and actually kills people instead of helps and point to a dystopian future, such as “The Terminator,” “The Matrix,” and “Avatar.”
“I watched the ‘Gravity’ movie the other day,” he said. “You would never want to go into outer space. You’d want to stay on some muddy tropical island.”
He doesn’t think that Silicon Valley should stop what it’s doing, though. It’s actually doing really well and should be doing more.
“And I think that we should never lose site of how countercultural it is to a broader society, which would prefer a complete stasis at this point because the broader society is dominated by a fear of the future, not hope for the future,” he said.
Watch the entire video on Demo’s site. (The part where he starts talking about the future is around the 41:14-minute point.)