Venture capitalist, early Facebook investor, and conservative donor Peter Thiel criticized big U.S. tech companies, including Apple and Google for being too close to China. At a virtual event held Tueesday by the Richard Nixon Foundation, Thiel said Apple was unlikely to confront China because of its massive supply chain to assemble iPhones and other products in the country and criticized Google for its work on artificial intelligence, mainly around the company’s artificial intelligence work with Chinese universities.
“Since everything in China is a civilian-military fusion, Google was effectively working with the Chinese military, not with the American military,” Thiel said. He also sad that Google “insiders” told him that they worked with the Chinese because “they figured they might as well give the technology out the front door, because if they didn’t give it – it would get stolen anyway.”
Thiel also said that Apple was unlikely to confront China because of its massive supply chain to manufacture iPhones and other products in the country. He noted that other big technology companies like Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft don’t have as extensive business interests in the country, in some cases because the Chinese government has restricted what they can do there.
He called for the U.S. to put a “lot of pressure” and scrutiny on Apple because of its labor supply chain in the country. ″Apple is probably the one that’s structurally a real problem, because the whole iPhone supply chain gets made from China,” Thiel said. “Apple is one that has real synergies with China.”
MacDailyNews Note: Thiel was posed the following question by Robert C. O’Brien who served as the 28th Assistant to the President for U.S. National Security Affairs:
O’Brien: So in Silicon Valley, we’ve got, it’s a very woke industry in general about what’s happening here. And yet it’s not very woke in what’s happening to the Uyghurs, what’s happening to the Tibetians, what’s happening to the democrats with a small “d” in Hong Kong, the threats against Taiwan where you’ve got the indigenous people of Taiwan. So, there seems to be less concern about those folks in Silicon Valley and industry in general than the concern for woke progressive politics here. How are they surprised and how do they get their conscience back when it comes to folks around the world? Maybe even victims of environmental disaster?
Thiel: There are all sorts of things one can say. If you’re concerned about climate change maybe the tariffs the Trump Administration put on China were way too small, they should be much higher, even the carbon tax should be higher because they use coal power. Even the electric cars in China are dirty, they’re dirtier than oil power cars than China. But somehow it’s very difficult to talk about this stuff coherently.
I had a set of conversations with some of the Google people in the deep mind AI technology, “is your AI being used to run the concentration camps in Xinjiang?” and “Well, We don’t know and don’t ask any questions.” You have this almost magical thinking that by pretending everything is fine, that’s how you engage and have a conversation. And you make the world better. And it’s some combination of wishful thinking. It’s useful idiots, you know, it’s CCP fifth columnist collaborators. So it’s some super position of all these things.
But I think if you think of it ideologically or in terms of human rights or something like that, I’m tempted to say it’s just profoundly racist. It’s like saying that because they look different, they’re not white people, they don’t have the same rights. It’s something super wrong. But I don’t quite know how you unlock that.
Peter Thiel on how big tech justifies working with the CCP: “You have this almost magical thinking that by pretending everything is fine, that’s how you engage…it's some combination of wishful thinking. It's useful idiots, it’s CCP fifth columnist collaborators."#NixonSeminar pic.twitter.com/EJ6qcV23cc
— Richard Nixon Foundation (@nixonfoundation) April 7, 2021
The full transcript of The Nixon Seminar featuring special guest Peter Thiel is here.