Palantir CEO Alex Karp: future of AI shouldn’t be left to “a handful of people in Palo Alto”

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Palantir CEO Alex Karp approves Peter Thiel’s questioning of Google’s decision to help China while ceasing contracts with the US military.

Thiel is a billionaire investor, a Facebook board member and a supporter of Donald Trump. Last month, he recommended an investigation on Facebook by the CIA and FBI, to check if the company has been infiltrated by hostile foreign intelligence.

Last June, following protests by dozens of its employees, Google communicated its decision not to renew a controversial contract with the Department of Defense, after it ended in March. The contract, dubbed “Project Maven”, involved Google helping the Pentagon to analyze and interpret drone footage using AI.

At the same time, Google has several ongoing high-profile projects – involving AI, cloud computing and hardware infrastructure – in China.

The events caused Thiel to become increasingly suspicious. He addressed Google’s work in China as “seemingly treasonous,” catching President Donald Trump’s attention, who said his administration would look further into the matter.

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It’s worth noting that in 2004 Thiel and Karp, alongside other ex-students from Stanford, founded Palantir – a company that develops defense and intelligence products, in addition to corporate management software.

Karp underlined in an interview with Bloomberg that, unlike Google, his company is not cooperating with “adversaries” of the United States in any way.

“Does the average American trust a platform company, including Google, to decide whether we should be the dominant player in AI?” he told Bloomberg. “Is that something we want to outsource to a small number of platforms in a very small part of the world, with people who are from a very narrow sliver of society?”

“I reject that, and I reject that a handful of people in Palo Alto are going to determine what the lawful execution of policy is,” Karp continued.

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Filippo Cestaro
Filippo Cestaro is a tech news writer with a strong focus on AI, machine learning, and big data. His interests include AI singularity and transhumanism. He is also a contributor to Scuba Zone Magazine and joined with the University of Milan to publish work on the psychology of scuba diving. [email protected]