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Book Cover for: The Philosopher in the Valley: Alex Karp, Palantir, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, Michael Steinberger

The Philosopher in the Valley: Alex Karp, Palantir, and the Rise of the Surveillance State

Michael Steinberger

An acclaimed New York Times Magazine writer brings us into the world of Palantir--a software firm that sells some of the most powerful and dangerous technology in the world and its CEO Alex Karp--taking a deep dive into the surveillance state, the rise of big data, and the global balance of power in the 21st century.

In the age of big data, no company embodies its promise and its perils more than Palantir. This software firm sells some of the most powerful and dangerous technology in the world, ingesting huge quantities of data and spotting patterns, trends, and connections that would likely elude most people. Apart from Facebook, you'd be hard-pressed to find another tech company that's making as big of a splash--or fraught with more potential pitfalls.

Founded in 2003 to help the US government in the war on terror, Palantir now has more than thirty federal agencies as clients. From climate change and terrorism to poverty and immigration, money laundering, and the future of warfare, Palantir is at the nexus of the most critical issues of the 21st century. At its helm is cofounder and CEO Alex Karp, an atypical tech boss with a law degree from Stanford and a doctorate in social theory from Germany's Goethe University, yet no background in either computer science or business. Now, in The Philosopher in the Valley, journalist Michael Steinberger delves deeply into Karp and the company he's leading, highlighting the risks to privacy and civil liberties that come with big data. Can we get the good without the bad and if not, what are the trade-offs?

Karp's unique political and philosophical views put him and the company at odds with fellow cofounder Peter Thiel, a big supporter of Donald Trump in Silicon Valley. The technology they created has the potential to shape the global power dynamic and the way individuals interact with governments. Urgent and important, this illuminating work shows us what this future might look like.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: Feb 25th, 2025
  • Pages: 320
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00in - 6.00in - 0.83in - 1.13lb
  • EAN: 9781668012956
  • Categories: BusinessScience & TechnologyIndustries - Computers & Information Technology

About the Author

Steinberger, Michael: - Michael Steinberger is a longtime journalist who writes primarily for The New York Times Magazine. He has written cover stories for the magazine about Joe Biden, George Soros, and Roger Federer. Before becoming a journalist, Steinberger spent several years working on Wall Street. He is the author of Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine, and the End of France and The Wine Savant: A Guide to the New Wine Culture. Follow him on X at @WineDiarist.