Slideshow: Apocalypse How? Dire ’12 Forecasts

By Ben Steverman - 2012-01-14T03:12:30Z

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Peter Thiel

A cofounder of PayPal and early investor in Facebook, Peter Thiel is worried technological progress has stalled, a running theme of his speeches and interviews in 2011. Without more rapid advances, "people will have a lower quality of life, where people won't be able to retire, where governments are pushed toward more and more austerity," he told Bloomberg Businessweek in February. "That will lead to a more constrained, pessimistic future." Thiel has funded a variety of unconventional research projects because he says run-of-the-mill technology doesn't impress him. He told the New Yorker in November he doesn't consider the iPhone a "technological breakthrough."

(Left, a projected three-dimensional animated image created using plasma technology is displayed at the Burton Inc. booth during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show.)

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg