Thiel shares insights on Big Tech’s ‘magical thinking’ about ‘omni-malevolent’ China

FPI / April 15, 2021

Silicon Valley has either failed to grasp, or is ignoring the fact that China is using American-origin technology to create an unprecedented mass surveillance state, according to high-technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member.

Peter Thiel says China has created a mass surveillance state and leaders in Silicon Valley should view the regime as adversarial. / AP

Thiel described what the communist government under supreme leader Xi Jinping is creating as “omni-malevolent”.

“On some level, it is really an extraordinary sociological political experiment with no real 20th-century precedent,” Thiel said. “There are ways that probably Stalin was still worse than Xi and killed more people. But the degree of hooks that you have into people is just extraordinary. It’s sort of like the government is in your innermost core.”

He suggested that U.S. big tech corporations should view China as an enemy in the same way that China’s major corporations, which coordinate with the People’s Liberation Army, see the United States.

“I do think that seeing China in an adversarial way would be a helpful start,” Thiel said during a conference at the Nixon Library in California on April 7.

China utilizes U.S.-created high technology to monitor communications and travel, security correspondent Bill Gertz noted in a report for the Washington Times.

Thiel said Xi has created a Chinese Communist Party version of St. Augustine’s theology of God: “Totally outside you, totally inside you and knows everything about you.”

The entrepreneur also said he confronted Google about its work for the Chinese government and the company’s refusal to apply its technologies on behalf of the U.S. military.

Thiel said he asked Google leaders whether the company’s DeepMind artificial intelligence project was being used to run internment camps housing imprisoned ethnic Uyghurs in western China. He was told the company did not know and had not asked the Chinese government about it.

Google adopted what he termed “magical thinking” — pretending that working with the Chinese government is fine and simply part of engagement.

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