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January 6, 2011

Private Investment Fueling Human Progress

A few weeks ago, PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel made a pitch to Silicon Valley’s elite to invest in “seemingly far-fetched ventures that he believes could improve the lives of everyone for good.” He calls it “breakthrough philanthropy.”

Ideas that were pitched included:

  • Ensuring that “self-programming machines will create a world that looks more like Star Trek, less like the Terminator.”
  • “Radical life extension based on the controversial aging theories of computer scientist-turned-gerontologist Aubrey de Grey.”
  • “Establish distant ocean colonies to serve as laboratories for experimenting with new forms of government or ‘startup countries.'”

Some of the ideas may seem far-fetched right now, but so was the photograph and the airplane just two centuries ago. But Thiel’s vision is consistent with Downsize DC’s position that it is free visionary individuals working in a free market who will spur human progress. Notice how Thiel made his pitch to investors and did not lobby Congress for “research funding.”

You can read more here.

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