November 29th, 2014
10:51 PM ET

Are we really living in innovative times?

Fareed speaks with Peter Thiel, a founder of PayPal, an early investor in Facebook, and author of Zero to One, about whether we are overestimating the level of innovation. Watch the full interview on a GPS special on innovation in America, this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You've been writing for a while that you actually think we may not be living in as innovative times as everybody thinks we are.

Well, it's a two track story on innovation in the last three or four decades, where we've had enormous innovation in the world of computers, Internet, mobile Internet, the world of bits. We've had much less innovation in the world of atoms and energy and food technology, biotech, medicine, space travel, supersonic airplanes...

Right. Or even just airplanes. I mean if you think about it, it takes about the same amount of time to fly from Point A to Point B on the globe as it did five decades ago.

Yes, or probably even slower with the low tech airport security systems we have in place today. And so technology, the idea of technology, has been narrowed. And in many cases today, the word technology means simply information technology. And I do think it would be good for our world if we broadened this again and saw accelerating technological progress across all these frontiers.

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soundoff (648 Responses)
  1. grandone

    Judging from the events of this past week, we need to focus on social innovation. We clearly have not progresses as far as I thought we had in terms of race or enlightened thought.
    As for technology,Thiel is absolutely right. We can calculate in millionths of a second and download at hundreds of bits per second and store terabytes on our desk, but we have not done much for our physical selves in terms of transportation or better nutrition for our health. Supplements to diet are unregulated. Travel is still hazardous and slow. Most of the world lives in poverty. Really, are we that innovative?

    November 29, 2014 at 11:31 pm |
    • Philip

      Correct. We can. But we don't. We can build things to within amazing tolerances, but as a general rule do not. We build and buy throw away junk and build and buy some more, on credit.
      We humans have amazing capacities yet choose that our children be identified by not who they are but by how big their hand held device is. Or by the number after Play Station.
      Automatons, you are becoming.

      November 30, 2014 at 7:58 am |
  2. chri§§y

    Now there is nothing wrong with taking ones time getting from point A to point B! Everybody is always in such a hurry they dont take the time to enjoy or appreciate their surroundings!

    November 29, 2014 at 11:32 pm |
  3. It's just an opinion

    When solar cells first appeared they were getting about 8 percent. Enough for NASA to power it's planetary exploration. However now the germans have found different materials absorb different wave lenghts and the effeciency has soared. We try but the obstacles in a modern world are political, cultural and corporate. There are all kind of stories about oil and energy bought up technologies which make engines run better to keep them from affecting markets. I don't think that is progress.

    November 30, 2014 at 12:25 am |
  4. ℜazzmatazz

    Let's talk about concept of transportation in India. Donkey carts were traditional mode. Ideal flat bed chassis for raiping. Tie a few hindus to the front for added donkey power and there you have it. No need for airborne vehicles. Those are for civilized people.

    November 30, 2014 at 12:31 am |
  5. Ustov Golthier

    A hindoo flying a plane is like having a donkey pull a Ferrari

    November 30, 2014 at 12:38 am |
  6. Blue Sapphire

    Technology in this day and time is designed to kill each other. Snoop on each other. We are living in circa 1984 Orwell. Even these forums are designed as hunting grounds for the likes of CIA. There is no goal of improving humanity. For speed of travel.

    November 30, 2014 at 12:52 am |
  7. Blue Saffron☼


    Yes, speed is of the utmost importance when it helps humanity achieve its goals. The implications of techological advancements is critical as regards its application to advance democratic principles.

    Just like US is letting the Puerto Ricans decide their fate, a plebiscite needs to be held in Kashmir under UN supervision to allow these people to decide their future. That is what democracy is all about.

    Therefore, the only Technology Transfer that India needs is how to hold plebiscite in Indian Occupied Kashmir. It took Putin of Russia a week to hold plebiscite in Crimea. India has not been able to accomplish this in 70 years. YES, 70 YEARS !! RUB YOUR EYES !!!

    So India should import this technology from Russia pronto to get from Point A to Point B fastest. Now that is a good thing. We can smell the roses and enjoy after reaching the destination. The journey has been one where the surroundings have been full of bloodshed and genocide in Indian Occupied Kashmir.

    November 30, 2014 at 1:10 am |
    • Gulnaz

      As a Kashmiri born Norwegian citizen I applaud your indulgence in this matter and for letting the world know of the sufferings of our people. I have no repect for Fareed Zakaria who I think is suffering from alzheimers. And I am sure he is an agent of RAW whose soul has been bought out by western intelligence agencies for a few krones.

      November 30, 2014 at 3:07 am |
  8. rupert

    I was following @chrissy's advice and while walking slowly in Bangalore, India got raiped by pundits. They hung me on the mango tree to die. I am posting this while breathing my last. And NO I am not @Blue Saffron.

    November 30, 2014 at 3:12 am |
  9. dazzle○

    Evening all. I see the troll is at it again stealing names.

    November 30, 2014 at 3:21 am |
  10. banasy@

    Hi dazzle.
    Good morning all. Yes. We are living in innovative times. I have innovated the perfect receipie for turkey left overs.
    You need frozen pie crust, flour, peas, carrot squares, chicken broth.
    1. Put all the stuff together
    2. Bake it in the stove

    November 30, 2014 at 3:58 am |
  11. banasy@

    It is turkey pot pie.

    November 30, 2014 at 3:59 am |
  12. Blue Saffron☆

    Yes. I like to eat turkey. I like to visit my family in India and we eat turkey pot pie with red wine.
    We put a plebiscite to make it taste better. We always enjoy it.
    Innovation is the key to success.

    November 30, 2014 at 4:06 am |
    • Blue Saffron

      Hey Blue to get the turkey from Point A (your mouth) to Point B ( your stomach) you use red wine. Why don't you drink the national beverage of hindoos cow urine which will make the transportation of turkey to your stomach much more quicker due better viscosity! Ahhhhh....... The technological advancements of India.

      November 30, 2014 at 6:23 am |
  13. chrissy

    Hi dazzle. Thank you Blue. Great post at 4:06.
    Well banasy. Thank you for the recipe.
    Here is my turkey left over idea:
    Get tortillas. Put turkey, lettuce, tomatoes and onion. Season with salt, garlic, and pepper.
    Walla! The innovated perfect turkey taco.

    November 30, 2014 at 4:13 am |
  14. bobcat (in a hat○)

    Hi folks. Speaking of lettuce. Got one for ya.
    What did the lettuce say to the crowd?
    "Lettuce entertain you."

    November 30, 2014 at 4:16 am |
  15. Hannah

    ROLFLMAO. good one bobcat. Thank you

    November 30, 2014 at 4:17 am |
  16. Tori

    Hi folks. Hi mom. Thanks for the advice. Tomato juice does soften a hangover.
    My dad, a great professional chef gave me this great recipe for turkey left overs.
    Buy a frozen cheese pizza from the store.
    put a layer if chopped turkey on top.
    bake it in the oven.
    Preston. You have the perfect turkey pizza.

    November 30, 2014 at 4:21 am |
    • Tori

      Not any of us. Troll you must be hungry and fat.

      November 30, 2014 at 7:59 am |
  17. Gulnaz

    Innovation to good food is a good thing. In my home country of Norwegian, we have a turkey feat in the last Thursday of November.
    here is my receipie for turkey left over.
    Shred the turkey and make it into a Pattie. Warm over a grill. Put between two slices of hamburger buns. Add veggies and mustard. Really good. Mmmm

    November 30, 2014 at 4:28 am |
  18. Razzmatazz

    Mmmm great cooking ideas. In my country, we eat turkey salads on thanks giving day.

    November 30, 2014 at 4:31 am |
  19. Patrick

    Wow. Amazing what some people can do with a turkey.

    November 30, 2014 at 4:33 am |
  20. Philip

    People get 10% more fat during the holidays.

    November 30, 2014 at 4:39 am |
  21. Joey Isotta Fraschini


    November 30, 2014 at 4:40 am |
  22. Blue Saffron

    Exactly. What is the hurry? Why do we need technology? For that matter, why do we need medicines? Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Ayurvedic solution. Enjoy.


    "Waiter, would you please get your thumb out of my soup?" "So sorry Madame, but I have a boil and the pundit told me to keep it warm." "Well why don't you just stick it up your a ss?" "I do Madame, but I've got to serve customers occasionally..."

    November 30, 2014 at 6:17 am |
  23. Chabet

    There are 2 types of India ..... neanderthal and ancient. One seyxually advanced the other technologically advanced.
    You see the hindoos invented gang raipes to accelerate nirvana. But then they raipe on moving buses to from Point A start of raipe to Point B end of raipe quicker. And while doing so they kill 3 birds with one stone. #1 Enjoy the raipe. #2 Get the raipe over quicker. #3 Reach another destination as an unintended consequence. GENIUS !!!

    November 30, 2014 at 6:32 am |
  24. Blue Saffron☼

    4:06, 6:17, 6:23 are not me.

    The Aghoris are members of a Hindu sect who worship Shiva, whom they see as the supreme god. Because they believe that Shiva created everything – they consider nothing to be bad. For this reason they engage in a variety of seyxual practices, they drink alcohol, take drugs, and eat meat. Nothing is considered taboo. But the thing that makes their ancient traditions bizarre is that they are also practicing cannibals and their temples are cremation grounds.

    An aghori lives in the cremation ground and is able to support himself there – his clothing comes from the dead, his firewood comes from the funeral pyres, and food from the river. When a person is cremated, an aghori will coat himself in the ashes of the body and meditate on the dead.
    The most shocking aspect of the Aghori life is their cannibalism. Dead bodies that are found floating in the river are gathered up and meditated on. The limbs are then removed by the Aghori and eaten .

    The problem is as Aghoris get older their decaying teeth can't chew dead human meat. So the Indian Cannibal Association invented a deep fryer. It cooks faster to get from point A to point B all while making it tastier.
    Fareed, this is what we call hindoo ingenuity.

    November 30, 2014 at 6:46 am |
    • Krishna Chand Lal

      Gud 1 sir ji! You from India? Me settled in America. Love fast food and raipe. Both are enjoyable and fast.

      November 30, 2014 at 6:50 am |
    • Hannah

      I love technology but find cannibalism just a tad bit too hinduistic.

      November 30, 2014 at 7:02 am |
    • Philip

      The openly gay priests are members of a nationwide religious organization that used to be among the wealthiest organizations on earth. But are now bankrupt from paying so many hundreds of millions of dollars in hush money to families of boys rayped by the gay priest association of America.

      November 30, 2014 at 7:51 am |
  25. Hannah

    I love fast cars. Gets from Point A to Point B quicker and the journey is very enjoyable. I own a Ferrari.

    November 30, 2014 at 6:58 am |
    • Racey Rick

      Yup. Fast cars. And even faster women. Women who like fast cars spread their legs like peanut butter on bread. And leave skid marks in back seats too. Seriously.

      November 30, 2014 at 8:24 am |
  26. Philip

    A loaf of bread does not cost 5 cents like scientists told us it would, and NASA flat-out lied about the Space Shuttle Program making it cheap for us to put cargo in space.
    We have fancy machines and cheesy bodies and minds is what we have.

    November 30, 2014 at 7:46 am |
  27. Philip

    We are living in fast times where time stands still as people fly by.

    November 30, 2014 at 7:52 am |
  28. Paid Basher

    Those dang Indians raype almost as many men, women, and boys as American church leaders do. Something needs to be done about them.

    November 30, 2014 at 8:05 am |
  29. Technoid

    I love technology by find Americans to be fat and stupid. And slow, unless they are driving a big ugly fast SUV with a plastic flag duck taped to the bumper.

    November 30, 2014 at 8:16 am |
  30. Philip

    Yes. Obese America gains weight every Thanksgiving. What of it.

    November 30, 2014 at 8:28 am |
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