Long known to be a bit of a cynic in regards to artificial intelligence, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk decided to do what he does best and put his wealth to good use.Along with Y Combinator president Sam Altman, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Musk’s PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Musk hopes that this donation will to allow OpenAI to function freely without worrying about generating a financial return.In the company’s eyes, this fact alone is paramount to it prioritizing a “good outcome” over its own “self-interest.”“As a non-profit, our aim is to build value for everyone rather than shareholders,” OpenAI representatives said in a press release.“Researchers will be strongly encouraged to publish their work, whether as papers, blog posts, or code, and our patents (if any) will be shared with the world.We’ll freely collaborate with others across many institutions and expect to work with companies to research and deploy new technologies.”Despite the $1 billion pledge and celebrity affiliation, it isn’t completely obvious exactly how OpenAI intends to build value or collaborate outside of just plain research.“It’s hard to fathom how much human-level AI could benefit society, and it’s equally hard to imagine how much it could damage society if built or used incorrectly.”In addition to the founders, OpenAI plans on initially functioning with nine world-class research engineers and scientists, headlined by research director and Google Brain Team alum Ilya Sutskever.
For young people pursuing a career in Silicon Valley, enrollment can be a golden ticket to elite technology companies.Over the years, Stanford has educated some of the biggest names in tech, including Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer.Founded in 1891, Stanford University has built a reputation as a feeder school for Silicon Valley.Source: Silicon Valley Business JournalIn CoHo, a coffee house where I found many students sitting on couches with laptops in hand, portraits of alumni hang on the wall.Stanford has educated titans of tech including Yahoo's Marissa Mayer; Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin; cofounder of PayPal, Peter Thiel; former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer; and cofounders of Hewlett-Packard, Bill Hewlett and David Packard.
Many startups are starting to put the materials together to go public, but that doesn't mean the IPO market has warmed up to tech, says venture capitalist Sandy Miller of IVP.For now, those companies are content watching from the sidelines, and very few have even taken the steps to confidentially file, he added.If anything, he doesn't expect the IPO window to open until Q3 at the very earliest.More likely, companies will wait until Q4 or even 2017 before going public — and this is after a year when the first quarter saw no IPOs from a tech company whatsoever.Why the chill?As a result, many will wait until post-election — or at least once it's more clear who will win — to know how the markets will react, IVP partner Eric Liaw added.While much of the focus has been on the billion-dollar "unicorn" companies, which have been grazing from buckets of cash for awhile, Miller predicts that the industry is more likely to see smaller, profitable companies go public first.Companies like Yelp, OpenTable, and Zillow are examples of companies that went through a smaller offering, Liaw said.Meanwhile, startups that are trying to raise money through venture capital instead of going public will find a different atmosphere than the last few years.
Those are some of the words used by those who attended Mark Zuckerberg s meeting with conservatives Wednesday at Facebook s headquarters in the wake of accusations of political bias at the social network.But also: No one is kidding themselves — everyone knows how left-wing Silicon Valley is.The accusations of bias stem from a recent Gizmodo report based on an anonymous former Facebook worker who claimed his fellow Trending Topics curators suppressed news from conservative media outlets.Facebook has denied finding evidence to support the claim, but the controversy ruffled enough feathers — including those of a senator — that CEO Zuckerberg arranged a meeting with conservatives such as Glenn Beck and several others.In a post Wednesday after the meeting, Zuckerberg thanked those who attended and said: It s important that Facebook remains a platform for all ideas and that we continue to give every person a voice.It doesn t make sense for our mission or our business to suppress political content or prevent anyone from seeing what matters most to them, he said.The Wall Street Journal cited a Barclays Capital estimate that political candidates were expected to spend up to $300 million on Facebook ads this year.Other Facebook executives who attended the meeting included Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, plus a couple of conservatives, according to Politico and the WSJ: board member Peter Thiel, who is a California delegate for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and Joel Kaplan, formerly an aide to George W. Bush and now the company s head of global public policy.Photo from Associated PressTags: conservatives, facebook, Glenn Beck, mark zuckerberg, trending news
Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday held a wide-ranging discussion with a group of conservative commentators who said afterward the Facebook CEO acknowledged the giant social network has a problem reaching conservatives.The meeting at Facebook's Menlo Park, California, headquarters came about after a report accused the company of harboring a bias against conservative views.S.E."Facebook wants to restore the "trust" of conservativesCupp said Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Vice President Joel Kaplan and board member Peter Thiel mostly listened to the 17 conservatives who attended.While the Facebook executives did not comment further on an internal investigation into allegations of political manipulation, they explained how difficult it would be for Facebook employees to inject bias into what stories make it into the "trending topics" section of the site or on individual users' news feeds, Cupp said.The Facebook team also said any such tampering would be "philosophically against both the mission of the company and Mark's personal mission," Cupp said."Rob Bluey, editor in chief of the website The Daily Signal, made similar comments to Fox News' Greta Van Susteren shortly after the meeting ended."In a Facebook post afterward, Zuckerberg did not directly respond to allegations that Facebook employees suppressed conservative stories on its "trending topics" feature.""I wanted to hear their concerns personally and have an open conversation about how we can build trust.On mobile devices, users can tap on the search bar to see the top trends, but they can't see separate categories.Topics that appear as trending can have a self-fulfilling effect, as more Facebook readers see and share the items, and other news organizations decide to write their own stories.
"Familiar tracks and traditions are like clichés: They are everywhere, they may sometimes be correct, but often they are justified by nothing except constant repetition," the PayPal cofounder and "Zero to One" author told the graduating class during Hamilton College's commencement on Sunday."If we choose to believe that we're powerless to do anything that is not familiar, we will be right, but only in a sort of self-fulfilling way," he said.Thiel confessed during his speech that, from middle school through law school, he had been stuck on the competitive track the outspoken entrepreneur is famous for comparing higher education to "the final stage of a competitive tournament" ."Looking back at my ambition to become a lawyer, it looks less like a plan for the future and more like an alibi for the present.But it turned out in retrospect that my biggest problem was taking the track without thinking really hard about where it was going," Thiel said.He said he took the opposite approach a few years later when he cofounded PayPal: He and his cofounders consciously set "very definite, very big plans" to change the world by replacing the US dollar with a new, digital currency.And while Thiel admitted that he ultimately failed at the greater goal of replacing the dollar, he proved the global financial industry wrong by creating a company that allows people around the world to move more than $200 billion a year.Go out and do what your teachers and parents thought could not be done, and what they never thought of doing," he advised graduates.Watch the full commencement speech below:NOW WATCH: This couple left everything behind to travel the world togetherLoading video...
" Instead of continuing down his path in law, he moved out to California, co-founded a technology startup, and made a fortune.During a commencement speech at Hamilton College on Sunday, Thiel spoke out against conventional wisdom and the familiar track, pointing out two big clichés that end up being wrong more often than they're right.The first cliche that Thiel takes a shot at is "to thine own self be true.He put it in the mouth of a character named Polonius, who Hamlet accurately describes as a tedious old fool, even though Polonius was senior counselor to the King of Denmark.And so, in reality, Shakespeare is telling us two things.Not to follow it blindly.Second, Shakespeare s saying that you should be skeptical of advice, even from your elders.Although Thiel says that teaching and tradition can still have value, he urged the recent graduates to do new things, and not blindly follow in the footsteps of their teachers and parents.
Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBillionaire Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel is secretly funding lawsuits to financially ruin journalist Nick Denton and his media empire Gawker, according to a new report from Forbes.Thiel – who co-founded PayPal, was an early investor in Facebook and has an estimated wealth of $2.7bn – is allegedly paying the legal bills for former wrestler Hulk Hogan s fight against Gawker.Denton had told the New York Times on Tuesday that he had a personal hunch someone in Silicon Valley was backing the lawsuit, which has been carefully orchestrated to avoid allowing Gawker s insurance to pay for damages.If you re a billionaire and you don t like the coverage of you, and you don t particularly want to embroil yourself any further in a public scandal, it s a pretty smart, rational thing to fund other legal cases, he told the New York Times on Tuesday.Denton suspects power in Silicon Valley is more sensitive than in New York or Los Angeles, where those in control are more accustomed to an adversarial press.There are powerful people in Silicon Valley and the power of Silicon Valley is a relatively new phenomenon.
What a fine, fine fella.If you don t know who Peter Thiel is, set your swoon-sockets to Stun, because Peter Thiel is the best—just an awesome, handsome, awesome guy—and we would never want to give the impression that we think otherwise.Beyond that, he s 48 years old—though we re guessing that, with his looks, he still gets ID d now and then.The party s theme was Omniscience, and the dress code was Plutocracy Casual.Anyway, Chaka Khan—a great singer, though surely not as good a singer as Peter Thiel!—sang a version of her 1984 hit I Feel For You, and then changed the lyrics to I Thiel for you.Peter Thiel loved it so much, he didn t secretly bankroll a lawsuit against Chaka Khan, nor did he secretly bankroll a lawsuit against Prince, who wrote the original I Feel For You.
More FILE - In this Thursday, March 8, 2012, file photo, Clarium Capital President Peter Thiel speaks during his keynote speech at the StartOut LGBT Entrepreneurship Awards in San Francisco.AP Photo/Ben Margot, File Here's some biographical information on billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, who has been secretly funding Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media, according to published reports:BORN: Oct. 11, 1967, in Frankfurt, Germany.COMPANY CONNECTIONS: Thiel co-founded PayPal in 1998 and was its chairman and CEO.He has also donated to the campaigns of former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political fundraising and spending.He's backed other unusual projects, including an effort to try new forms of government on man-made islands that would float outside the territory of current nations.He's also supported the Human Rights Foundation, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
Rumors had been swirling that a prominent Silicon Valley VC is funding a high profile lawsuit by Hulk Hogan against the online news site Gawker.On Monday, even Gawker's founder Nick Denton, in an interview with The New York Times, seemed to buy into what was once considered a far-fetched conspiracy theory.And on Tuesday, a new report from Forbes by Ryan Mac and Matt Drange said that venture capitalist Peter Thiel was the behind-the-scenes benefactor helping to finance the case.The Forbes report only cited anonymous sources "familiar with the situation."Request for comment from multiple Thiel-associated entities went unreturned.Hogan, a professional wrestler whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea, sued Gawker for publishing a video clip in 2013 of him having sex.That claim would apparently have required Gawker's insurance to pay for its defense and its potential payouts.Dropping the claim meant Gawker would have to pay out of its own pocket, but it also would have potentially resulted in a lower payday for Hogan.A separate report in The New York Times late Tuesday, citing a "person briefed on the arrangement," said that Thiel helped fund the expenses of Hogan's legal team.What links Hogan to Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal, is unknown, beyond a shared hatred toward the gossip-heavy site.Thiel once compared the site to al-Qaeda.That prompted Thiel to compare Gawker to a terrorist organization during a 2009 interview."I think they should be described as terrorists, not as writers or reporters.I don t understand the psychology of people who would kill themselves and blow up buildings, and I don t understand people who would spend their lives being angry; it just seems unhealthy," Thiel said at the time.You can read the full Forbes report hereNOW WATCH: Billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel explains precisely how Mark Zuckerberg changed the worldLoading video...
Yet by publicly outing him as gay in 2007, Gawker founder Nick Denton shattered the privacy of Thiel s fiercely guarded personal life and techno-libertarian vision.With the story in the public domain for 24 hours, his aides have neither confirmed nor denied the assertion, first reported by Forbes.The episode marks the latest unexpected twist in Thiel s political efforts, which are both representative of and at odds with Silicon Valley s broader political awakening; people close to the billionaire describe his worldview as a mix of extreme laissez-faire and mainstream Republicanism.Thiel has backed a variety of causes, from Ron Paul s and Trump s presidential bids, to government-less forms of currency such as bitcoin and 3D-printed gun startups.Thiel was one of 13 men, including Tesla s CEO, Elon Musk, who founded the digital payments company PayPal in 1998.A few years ago Thiel told associates that he saw promise in young entrepreneur Cody Wilson, a self-described antiestablishment techie working on a project to make bitcoin untraceable for authorities.
On Tuesday evening, the pair revealed that the powerful Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel has been secretly underwriting Hulk Hogan s litigation against Gawker:According to people familiar with the situation who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, Thiel, a cofounder and partner at Founders Fund, has played a lead role in bankrolling the cases Terry Bollea, a.k.a.Hogan is being represented by Charles Harder, a prominent Los Angeles-based lawyer.He also made a $10,000 donation to fund the efforts of right-wing sting artist James O Keefe III.In just the last month, Gawker Media s tech site Gizmodo published a series of stories on Facebook s use of news curators to manipulate the site s trending module, sparking a congressional investigation into the social network s practices.In a comment on a 2007 post by Valleywag editor Owen Thomas on the open secret of Thiel s sexuality, Denton described being threatened for his prior attempts to report on the billionaire s dating habits: He was so paranoid that, when I was looking into the story, a year ago, I got a series of messages relaying the destruction that would rain down on me, and various innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, if a story ever ran.Thiel later described Valleywag as the Silicon Valley equivalent of Al Qaeda.
For months, Gawker Media owner Nick Denton had suspected PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel was out to get him.Thiel — the uber-rich Silicon Valley investor — had been financially backing Hulk Hogan in his fight against Denton and Gawker.Citing people familiar with the situation who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, Forbes claimed Thiel played a lead role in funding Hogan s case.Reportedly, Hogan had no real incentive to take Gawker to court — the company had offered him as much as $10 million to go away, after all.Thiel, wanted to plant a dagger firmly in the back of the company that had wronged him years earlier, and offered to take the lead in funding Hogan s case, in an effort to seemingly stick it to Gawker.Read next: Report: Apple is saying 'me too' with a Siri-powered connected home speaker
What does money buy?Apparently a campaign to destroy your enemies.That appears to be the story in the case of who has been backing the legal fights against Gawker Media.One name has emerged: Peter Thiel, the former co-founder of PayPal, prominent Silicon Valley investor and most recently, California delegate for Donald Trump.Perhaps motivated by his antipathy for Gawker, Thiel has been backing legal fights against the media firm, says Forbes.The New York Times followed with its own story saying the same thing.Thiel s office has not replied to an email asking for comment.Estimated to be worth more than $2 billion, Thiel s pockets are deep.As Marc Andreessen, another prominent tech investor, pointed out, wryly:In 2007, Gawker outed Thiel as gay in a piece titled, Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.A Florida jury awarded Hogan $140 million, but Gawker and its founder Nick Denton are appealing.On Wednesday, a Florida judge denied Gawker s motion for a new trial and wouldn t reduce the $140 million verdict, the Associated Press reported.That theory was fueled by several moves by Hogan s legal team, including the decision not to take a $10 million settlement offer.The team made another peculiar move – it dropped claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress.That claim would have required Gawker s insurance company to help pay for the defense and help toward settlement payouts.Adding to the mystery have been subsequent lawsuits against the company brought by the Hogan s lawyer, Charles Harder.
Forbes reported late Tuesday that Thiel, an early backer of Facebook and a co-founder of PayPal , had played a lead role in financing the litigation.Thiel, who is also a founder of a hedge fund and a venture capital firm and has been an outspoken voice on issues including education, is no stranger to Gawker.Thiel kept mum publicly about his sexuality at the time, but has since said he is gay.A longtime supporter of libertarian causes, Thiel recently said he was backing real estate financier Donald Trump in his bid for president.If Peter Thiel is indeed backing the lawsuit, I assume that he thinks that disclosing a sex video without the participant s permission is a violation of the participant s rights – here, a right to privacy.Secretive third-party financings of lawsuits can put media companies at a disadvantage during litigation, said Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, in an interview Tuesday.
Forbes reported late Tuesday that Thiel, an early backer of Facebook and a co-founder of PayPal , had played a lead role in financing the litigation.Thiel, who is also a founder of a hedge fund and a venture capital firm and has been on outspoken voice on issues including education, is no stranger to Gawker.Thiel kept mum publicly about his sexuality at the time, but has since said he is gay.A longtime supporter of libertarian causes, Thiel recently said he was backing real estate financier Donald Trump in his bid for president.If Peter Thiel is indeed backing the lawsuit, I assume that he thinks that disclosing a sex video without the participant s permission is a violation of the participant s rights – here, a right to privacy.Secretive third-party financings of lawsuits can put media companies at a disadvantage during litigation, said Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, in an interview Tuesday.
International money-transfer startup TransferWise Ltd. is now valued at $1.1 billion after a new funding round, according to a person familiar with the situation.The London company on Wednesday said it raised $26 million in its fourth round of funding.Asset management firm Baillie Gifford & Co. led the round, joined by returning investors Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson, Peter Thiel s Valar Ventures.The company said it now transfers more than $750 million globally each month.It already has begun that program in the U.K.TransferWise s business centers on matching corresponding transactions country to country and avoiding the international exchange to save on fees.Most of its current transaction volume is still done in this way.
Peter Thiel is today known as one of the most successful and colorful venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.He came to fame and fortune by co-founding PayPal and then as an early investor in Facebook and is now is trying to stop aging and death, find technologies that would let people live forever, and encouraging smart young people to skip college and start companies instead.He's a famously outspoken libertarian.If you take every classic tale of about Silicon Valley and combine them into one human being, you'd get Peter Thiel.View As: One PageSlides
But Thiel, who made a fortune as co-founder of PayPal and an early backer of Facebook, expressed his distaste for Gawker in the past after Valleywag, its now-shuttered tech gossip blog, outed him before he came out as gay.I want to help the CPJ defend the rights of online journalists.So there s a disconnect between Thiel s libertarian streak, his support for a candidate with little regard for the First Amendment, his contributions toward press freedom and his reportedly funding a case that could bankrupt a media company.Gawker has long argued that publishing a snippet of a sex tape in 2012 involving Hogan aka Terry Bollea is protected under the First Amendment, and the company is currently appealing the March decision.If you re a billionaire and you don t like the coverage of you, and you don t particularly want to embroil yourself any further in a public scandal, it s a pretty smart, rational thing to fund other legal cases.But the media company highlighted the billionaire s past support for press freedom: A board member of Facebook and a major funder of The Committee to Protect Journalists has been secretly funding a legal campaign against our journalists.