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Episode
29

Palantir: The Most Important Company You’ve Never Heard Of

Feb 21, 2020
Business
-
14
minutes
Donald Trump
Technology
Business
USA

You might know nothing about it. But it certainly does (or could do) know a huge amount about you.

Let's take a look at this incredibly powerful company that can see into everything we do.

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[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the English Learning for Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] Today, we are going to talk about a company that you probably have never heard of, but that you may be, through your taxes at least, quite a large customer of. 

[00:00:26] That company is called Palantir, and there are people who say it is the scariest company in the world. 

[00:00:33] Before we get right into the podcast though, let me just take 30 seconds to remind those of you listening to this podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, iVoox, or wherever you're listening to it on that you can access the transcript and key vocabulary for the podcast over on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com.

[00:00:55] In case you hadn't seen this yet, we now have a super cool feature where the transcript animates across the screen as you're listening to the podcast, a little bit like subtitles. 

[00:01:07] So now it's super easy to follow every single word and not miss one thing. 

[00:01:13] So check that out, that's over at leonardoenglish.com

[00:01:19] Right, Palantir the most important company you've never heard of. 

[00:01:25] In case you hadn't realised by now, this isn't a business podcast, and we don't just talk about companies because they've done something interesting in the news, or we want to hear the story about how they got started. 

[00:01:40] This podcast tries to tell stories about the way the world works and Palantir well, it certainly has a pretty big global impact.

[00:01:50] There are some big fans of the company saying that it protects us and makes our lives safer, that it stops terrorists, violent criminals, and makes the world a better place. 

[00:02:05] But there are also those that say that the company poses a dangerous risk to our safety and personal freedoms, and it needs to be stopped before it's too late.

[00:02:16] Today we are going to talk about what it is exactly that Palantir does and then you can decide whether you think this is a good thing for the world.

[00:02:30] So my first question would be, have you ever heard of Palantir? 

[00:02:36] I imagine that for most of you, the answer would be no. 

[00:02:42] It's a very secretive company, it's not like they have a shop, an app or anything like that. 

[00:02:49] But it is worth over $20 billion and it counts many of the world's governments as its clients.

[00:03:00] It was founded by the secretive libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel, who was one of the early founders of PayPal. 

[00:03:09] He was also an early investor in Facebook and is now a big Donald Trump supporter. 

[00:03:16] He founded the company in 2004 shortly after the September the 11th terrorist attacks, with a view to creating a company that would stop these kinds of things happening in the future.

[00:03:30] So what does it actually do? 

[00:03:35] If you look at Palantir's website under what do we do, it says "we make products for human driven analysis of real world data". 

[00:03:47] This is obviously a kind of corporate doublespeak

[00:03:51] It doesn't really mean anything, so let's try to translate this into plain English.

[00:03:57] In short, Palantir is a software company that finds connections between data. 

[00:04:05] While this might sound simple, the levels at which Palantir operates are anything but.

[00:04:15] What Palantir does is connect the dots between huge sets of data, billions of different data points, and provides information that can be useful to solving a problem.

[00:04:30] This might be connecting purchases of bus tickets with things that are bought in a shop and CCTV footage to stop a terrorist attack or to find patterns in millions of different internal emails to discoverinsider trading at a large company.

[00:04:52] I'm sure you've heard of the phrase big data. 

[00:04:56] Big data is obviously a bit of a buzzword, but it is a fact that there is just a huge, a gargantuan amount of information and data in existence, and vast amounts are created every millisecond about every single thing we do, everything that happens in the world. 

[00:05:19] You can think of Palantir as the company that is able to process this kind of data and actually draw conclusions from it. 

[00:05:32] If you imagine a detective movie with someone working through the night, trying to piece together clues, plane tickets, pictures, phone records, all that kind of stuff, and sticking them all on a wall, and scratching their head, trying to find the connection and then drawing lines from one to another.

[00:05:55] And finally, after working through the night, they finally crack the pattern and understand the connections between the dots. 

[00:06:05] This is basically what Palantir does, but infinitely faster and on an infinitely larger scale. 

[00:06:15] Palantir might piece together data from millions of different sources that can tell us that someone has missed days from work recently, has visited a hardware store and bought unusual things, has bought a plane ticket to somewhere where they don't have connections and has visited certain websites, and this means, for example, that there is a high probability of a attack being committed. 

[00:06:47] While I don't think that anyone would argue that fewer terrorist attacks is a good thing, the danger comes when we think about our own personal freedoms and weigh up the advantages of solutions that help prevent things that would harm us against the disadvantages of an erosion of personal liberty. 

[00:07:11] If we aren't free to go to a shop, to book a plane ticket or send an email without thinking that some all-seeing company or indeed government can see what we are doing and is able to comb through all of our digital footprints, what is the impact of this on our own sense of personal freedom?

[00:07:37] And what would happen if this technology wasn't used for good purposes?

[00:07:44] Indeed, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, has spoken out about Palantir and described what would happen if the software got into the wrong hands as "a true totalitarian nightmare, monitoring the activities of innocent Americans on a mass scale."

[00:08:07] The fact is that to monitor the bad guys, in inverted commas, you have to at least have the ability to monitor everyone. 

[00:08:18] And are we prepared to give up all of our personal freedoms in order for us to be a little bit safer?

[00:08:26] If you've seen the film Minority Report, Palantir may seem eerily, strangely, familiar. 

[00:08:36] Minority Report, if you haven't seen the film or if you need a reminder, it's based in the year 2054 and the police use a tool that allows them to stop crimes before they're committed. 

[00:08:51] Palantir actually makes a version of this possible, or at least they tried to make a version of this possible.

[00:09:00] They created a tool that predicted when a crime would be likely to take place, and so agents, police men and women would be sent to that particular area.

[00:09:14] How this worked was that the technology relied on an algorithm that absorbed data on locations, times and dates of previously committed crimes, and then gave hotspots, gave areas, to police officers to patrol. 

[00:09:35] Creepy, right? 

[00:09:37] Well, not just creepy, but also full of bias.

[00:09:42] There was a study done in 2016 which showed that this algorithm heavily weighted towards people of colour, and previous crimes weren't actually the best indicator of future crimes. 

[00:09:59] Essentially the algorithm was racist.

[00:10:03] And even some Palantir employees are upset at some of the ways in which the software has been used. 

[00:10:10] Palantir has a big contract with ICE, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement department in the US and the software is used to track down and then deport suspected illegal immigrants. 

[00:10:28] And while some software engineers might have signed up to the mission of a company that aims to help stop terrorist attacks, catch child sex offenders and violent criminals, they had soon discovered that the software that they were creating could also be used to carry out policies that they might not agree with.

[00:10:53] But despite the pleas and protests from employees, the company didn't back down, and it actually just renewed a huge $42 million contract with ICE. 

[00:11:08] The view of Palantir is that it's not the job of a technology company to decide US government policy and that it would be treasonous to not provide services to the US government.

[00:11:23] However, cynics might say that these contracts are just too lucrative to turn down, they pay too well. 

[00:11:31] Indeed, Palantir can charge $3,000 per day per engineer, and one of its largest US army contracts is worth $800 million. 

[00:11:44] Palantir as a company has evidently done a lot of good. 

[00:11:49] It's said that it has helped prevent a massive global web of cyber intrusion by the Chinese government, it has predicted the locations of bombs in Afghanistan before they could go off and it helped convict the fraudster Bernie Madoff. 

[00:12:08] However, the question mark remains over how deep Palantir can see into our lives and what we are prepared to give up in order to live in a slightly safer world. 

[00:12:22] The company's name certainly suggests that it wants to see everything, to be omnipotent.

[00:12:29] If you remember Lord Of The Rings, a Palantir is a seeing stone, the dark orb, the crystal ball used by the evil wizard Sarumon, to be able to see in darkness or blinding lights. 

[00:12:47] That's certainly how Palantir seems to think of itself.

[00:12:52] Well, you could say that things didn't end that well for Sarumon, or you could say that the idea of a Palantir in the hands of the government is almost as scary as it gets. 

[00:13:06] Okay then, I hope that this has been an interesting look into this secretive, mysterious, but incredibly important company.

[00:13:16] It's pretty fascinating, but terrifying at the same time. 

[00:13:21] As always, if you have thoughts, feedback, questions on the podcast, I'd love to hear from you. 

[00:13:27] You can get in touch at hi - HI - @leonardoenglish.com or over on Facebook or Instagram. 

[00:13:35] And again, if you haven't yet checked out our new animating transcripts, then do go and check those out.

[00:13:42] You can head to leonardoenglish.com and have a look. 

[00:13:47] Using the animated transcripts means that the words flash across the screen as you hear them, so you should be able to follow every single word and not miss one thing. 

[00:13:59] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English.

[00:14:04] I'm Alastair Budge and I will catch you in the next episode.

[END OF PODCAST]



Continue learning

Get immediate access to a more interesting way of improving your English
Become a member
Already a member? Login

[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the English Learning for Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] Today, we are going to talk about a company that you probably have never heard of, but that you may be, through your taxes at least, quite a large customer of. 

[00:00:26] That company is called Palantir, and there are people who say it is the scariest company in the world. 

[00:00:33] Before we get right into the podcast though, let me just take 30 seconds to remind those of you listening to this podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, iVoox, or wherever you're listening to it on that you can access the transcript and key vocabulary for the podcast over on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com.

[00:00:55] In case you hadn't seen this yet, we now have a super cool feature where the transcript animates across the screen as you're listening to the podcast, a little bit like subtitles. 

[00:01:07] So now it's super easy to follow every single word and not miss one thing. 

[00:01:13] So check that out, that's over at leonardoenglish.com

[00:01:19] Right, Palantir the most important company you've never heard of. 

[00:01:25] In case you hadn't realised by now, this isn't a business podcast, and we don't just talk about companies because they've done something interesting in the news, or we want to hear the story about how they got started. 

[00:01:40] This podcast tries to tell stories about the way the world works and Palantir well, it certainly has a pretty big global impact.

[00:01:50] There are some big fans of the company saying that it protects us and makes our lives safer, that it stops terrorists, violent criminals, and makes the world a better place. 

[00:02:05] But there are also those that say that the company poses a dangerous risk to our safety and personal freedoms, and it needs to be stopped before it's too late.

[00:02:16] Today we are going to talk about what it is exactly that Palantir does and then you can decide whether you think this is a good thing for the world.

[00:02:30] So my first question would be, have you ever heard of Palantir? 

[00:02:36] I imagine that for most of you, the answer would be no. 

[00:02:42] It's a very secretive company, it's not like they have a shop, an app or anything like that. 

[00:02:49] But it is worth over $20 billion and it counts many of the world's governments as its clients.

[00:03:00] It was founded by the secretive libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel, who was one of the early founders of PayPal. 

[00:03:09] He was also an early investor in Facebook and is now a big Donald Trump supporter. 

[00:03:16] He founded the company in 2004 shortly after the September the 11th terrorist attacks, with a view to creating a company that would stop these kinds of things happening in the future.

[00:03:30] So what does it actually do? 

[00:03:35] If you look at Palantir's website under what do we do, it says "we make products for human driven analysis of real world data". 

[00:03:47] This is obviously a kind of corporate doublespeak

[00:03:51] It doesn't really mean anything, so let's try to translate this into plain English.

[00:03:57] In short, Palantir is a software company that finds connections between data. 

[00:04:05] While this might sound simple, the levels at which Palantir operates are anything but.

[00:04:15] What Palantir does is connect the dots between huge sets of data, billions of different data points, and provides information that can be useful to solving a problem.

[00:04:30] This might be connecting purchases of bus tickets with things that are bought in a shop and CCTV footage to stop a terrorist attack or to find patterns in millions of different internal emails to discoverinsider trading at a large company.

[00:04:52] I'm sure you've heard of the phrase big data. 

[00:04:56] Big data is obviously a bit of a buzzword, but it is a fact that there is just a huge, a gargantuan amount of information and data in existence, and vast amounts are created every millisecond about every single thing we do, everything that happens in the world. 

[00:05:19] You can think of Palantir as the company that is able to process this kind of data and actually draw conclusions from it. 

[00:05:32] If you imagine a detective movie with someone working through the night, trying to piece together clues, plane tickets, pictures, phone records, all that kind of stuff, and sticking them all on a wall, and scratching their head, trying to find the connection and then drawing lines from one to another.

[00:05:55] And finally, after working through the night, they finally crack the pattern and understand the connections between the dots. 

[00:06:05] This is basically what Palantir does, but infinitely faster and on an infinitely larger scale. 

[00:06:15] Palantir might piece together data from millions of different sources that can tell us that someone has missed days from work recently, has visited a hardware store and bought unusual things, has bought a plane ticket to somewhere where they don't have connections and has visited certain websites, and this means, for example, that there is a high probability of a attack being committed. 

[00:06:47] While I don't think that anyone would argue that fewer terrorist attacks is a good thing, the danger comes when we think about our own personal freedoms and weigh up the advantages of solutions that help prevent things that would harm us against the disadvantages of an erosion of personal liberty. 

[00:07:11] If we aren't free to go to a shop, to book a plane ticket or send an email without thinking that some all-seeing company or indeed government can see what we are doing and is able to comb through all of our digital footprints, what is the impact of this on our own sense of personal freedom?

[00:07:37] And what would happen if this technology wasn't used for good purposes?

[00:07:44] Indeed, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, has spoken out about Palantir and described what would happen if the software got into the wrong hands as "a true totalitarian nightmare, monitoring the activities of innocent Americans on a mass scale."

[00:08:07] The fact is that to monitor the bad guys, in inverted commas, you have to at least have the ability to monitor everyone. 

[00:08:18] And are we prepared to give up all of our personal freedoms in order for us to be a little bit safer?

[00:08:26] If you've seen the film Minority Report, Palantir may seem eerily, strangely, familiar. 

[00:08:36] Minority Report, if you haven't seen the film or if you need a reminder, it's based in the year 2054 and the police use a tool that allows them to stop crimes before they're committed. 

[00:08:51] Palantir actually makes a version of this possible, or at least they tried to make a version of this possible.

[00:09:00] They created a tool that predicted when a crime would be likely to take place, and so agents, police men and women would be sent to that particular area.

[00:09:14] How this worked was that the technology relied on an algorithm that absorbed data on locations, times and dates of previously committed crimes, and then gave hotspots, gave areas, to police officers to patrol. 

[00:09:35] Creepy, right? 

[00:09:37] Well, not just creepy, but also full of bias.

[00:09:42] There was a study done in 2016 which showed that this algorithm heavily weighted towards people of colour, and previous crimes weren't actually the best indicator of future crimes. 

[00:09:59] Essentially the algorithm was racist.

[00:10:03] And even some Palantir employees are upset at some of the ways in which the software has been used. 

[00:10:10] Palantir has a big contract with ICE, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement department in the US and the software is used to track down and then deport suspected illegal immigrants. 

[00:10:28] And while some software engineers might have signed up to the mission of a company that aims to help stop terrorist attacks, catch child sex offenders and violent criminals, they had soon discovered that the software that they were creating could also be used to carry out policies that they might not agree with.

[00:10:53] But despite the pleas and protests from employees, the company didn't back down, and it actually just renewed a huge $42 million contract with ICE. 

[00:11:08] The view of Palantir is that it's not the job of a technology company to decide US government policy and that it would be treasonous to not provide services to the US government.

[00:11:23] However, cynics might say that these contracts are just too lucrative to turn down, they pay too well. 

[00:11:31] Indeed, Palantir can charge $3,000 per day per engineer, and one of its largest US army contracts is worth $800 million. 

[00:11:44] Palantir as a company has evidently done a lot of good. 

[00:11:49] It's said that it has helped prevent a massive global web of cyber intrusion by the Chinese government, it has predicted the locations of bombs in Afghanistan before they could go off and it helped convict the fraudster Bernie Madoff. 

[00:12:08] However, the question mark remains over how deep Palantir can see into our lives and what we are prepared to give up in order to live in a slightly safer world. 

[00:12:22] The company's name certainly suggests that it wants to see everything, to be omnipotent.

[00:12:29] If you remember Lord Of The Rings, a Palantir is a seeing stone, the dark orb, the crystal ball used by the evil wizard Sarumon, to be able to see in darkness or blinding lights. 

[00:12:47] That's certainly how Palantir seems to think of itself.

[00:12:52] Well, you could say that things didn't end that well for Sarumon, or you could say that the idea of a Palantir in the hands of the government is almost as scary as it gets. 

[00:13:06] Okay then, I hope that this has been an interesting look into this secretive, mysterious, but incredibly important company.

[00:13:16] It's pretty fascinating, but terrifying at the same time. 

[00:13:21] As always, if you have thoughts, feedback, questions on the podcast, I'd love to hear from you. 

[00:13:27] You can get in touch at hi - HI - @leonardoenglish.com or over on Facebook or Instagram. 

[00:13:35] And again, if you haven't yet checked out our new animating transcripts, then do go and check those out.

[00:13:42] You can head to leonardoenglish.com and have a look. 

[00:13:47] Using the animated transcripts means that the words flash across the screen as you hear them, so you should be able to follow every single word and not miss one thing. 

[00:13:59] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English.

[00:14:04] I'm Alastair Budge and I will catch you in the next episode.

[END OF PODCAST]



[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the English Learning for Curious Minds podcast by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] Today, we are going to talk about a company that you probably have never heard of, but that you may be, through your taxes at least, quite a large customer of. 

[00:00:26] That company is called Palantir, and there are people who say it is the scariest company in the world. 

[00:00:33] Before we get right into the podcast though, let me just take 30 seconds to remind those of you listening to this podcast on Apple podcasts, Spotify, iVoox, or wherever you're listening to it on that you can access the transcript and key vocabulary for the podcast over on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com.

[00:00:55] In case you hadn't seen this yet, we now have a super cool feature where the transcript animates across the screen as you're listening to the podcast, a little bit like subtitles. 

[00:01:07] So now it's super easy to follow every single word and not miss one thing. 

[00:01:13] So check that out, that's over at leonardoenglish.com

[00:01:19] Right, Palantir the most important company you've never heard of. 

[00:01:25] In case you hadn't realised by now, this isn't a business podcast, and we don't just talk about companies because they've done something interesting in the news, or we want to hear the story about how they got started. 

[00:01:40] This podcast tries to tell stories about the way the world works and Palantir well, it certainly has a pretty big global impact.

[00:01:50] There are some big fans of the company saying that it protects us and makes our lives safer, that it stops terrorists, violent criminals, and makes the world a better place. 

[00:02:05] But there are also those that say that the company poses a dangerous risk to our safety and personal freedoms, and it needs to be stopped before it's too late.

[00:02:16] Today we are going to talk about what it is exactly that Palantir does and then you can decide whether you think this is a good thing for the world.

[00:02:30] So my first question would be, have you ever heard of Palantir? 

[00:02:36] I imagine that for most of you, the answer would be no. 

[00:02:42] It's a very secretive company, it's not like they have a shop, an app or anything like that. 

[00:02:49] But it is worth over $20 billion and it counts many of the world's governments as its clients.

[00:03:00] It was founded by the secretive libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel, who was one of the early founders of PayPal. 

[00:03:09] He was also an early investor in Facebook and is now a big Donald Trump supporter. 

[00:03:16] He founded the company in 2004 shortly after the September the 11th terrorist attacks, with a view to creating a company that would stop these kinds of things happening in the future.

[00:03:30] So what does it actually do? 

[00:03:35] If you look at Palantir's website under what do we do, it says "we make products for human driven analysis of real world data". 

[00:03:47] This is obviously a kind of corporate doublespeak

[00:03:51] It doesn't really mean anything, so let's try to translate this into plain English.

[00:03:57] In short, Palantir is a software company that finds connections between data. 

[00:04:05] While this might sound simple, the levels at which Palantir operates are anything but.

[00:04:15] What Palantir does is connect the dots between huge sets of data, billions of different data points, and provides information that can be useful to solving a problem.

[00:04:30] This might be connecting purchases of bus tickets with things that are bought in a shop and CCTV footage to stop a terrorist attack or to find patterns in millions of different internal emails to discoverinsider trading at a large company.

[00:04:52] I'm sure you've heard of the phrase big data. 

[00:04:56] Big data is obviously a bit of a buzzword, but it is a fact that there is just a huge, a gargantuan amount of information and data in existence, and vast amounts are created every millisecond about every single thing we do, everything that happens in the world. 

[00:05:19] You can think of Palantir as the company that is able to process this kind of data and actually draw conclusions from it. 

[00:05:32] If you imagine a detective movie with someone working through the night, trying to piece together clues, plane tickets, pictures, phone records, all that kind of stuff, and sticking them all on a wall, and scratching their head, trying to find the connection and then drawing lines from one to another.

[00:05:55] And finally, after working through the night, they finally crack the pattern and understand the connections between the dots. 

[00:06:05] This is basically what Palantir does, but infinitely faster and on an infinitely larger scale. 

[00:06:15] Palantir might piece together data from millions of different sources that can tell us that someone has missed days from work recently, has visited a hardware store and bought unusual things, has bought a plane ticket to somewhere where they don't have connections and has visited certain websites, and this means, for example, that there is a high probability of a attack being committed. 

[00:06:47] While I don't think that anyone would argue that fewer terrorist attacks is a good thing, the danger comes when we think about our own personal freedoms and weigh up the advantages of solutions that help prevent things that would harm us against the disadvantages of an erosion of personal liberty. 

[00:07:11] If we aren't free to go to a shop, to book a plane ticket or send an email without thinking that some all-seeing company or indeed government can see what we are doing and is able to comb through all of our digital footprints, what is the impact of this on our own sense of personal freedom?

[00:07:37] And what would happen if this technology wasn't used for good purposes?

[00:07:44] Indeed, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, has spoken out about Palantir and described what would happen if the software got into the wrong hands as "a true totalitarian nightmare, monitoring the activities of innocent Americans on a mass scale."

[00:08:07] The fact is that to monitor the bad guys, in inverted commas, you have to at least have the ability to monitor everyone. 

[00:08:18] And are we prepared to give up all of our personal freedoms in order for us to be a little bit safer?

[00:08:26] If you've seen the film Minority Report, Palantir may seem eerily, strangely, familiar. 

[00:08:36] Minority Report, if you haven't seen the film or if you need a reminder, it's based in the year 2054 and the police use a tool that allows them to stop crimes before they're committed. 

[00:08:51] Palantir actually makes a version of this possible, or at least they tried to make a version of this possible.

[00:09:00] They created a tool that predicted when a crime would be likely to take place, and so agents, police men and women would be sent to that particular area.

[00:09:14] How this worked was that the technology relied on an algorithm that absorbed data on locations, times and dates of previously committed crimes, and then gave hotspots, gave areas, to police officers to patrol. 

[00:09:35] Creepy, right? 

[00:09:37] Well, not just creepy, but also full of bias.

[00:09:42] There was a study done in 2016 which showed that this algorithm heavily weighted towards people of colour, and previous crimes weren't actually the best indicator of future crimes. 

[00:09:59] Essentially the algorithm was racist.

[00:10:03] And even some Palantir employees are upset at some of the ways in which the software has been used. 

[00:10:10] Palantir has a big contract with ICE, the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement department in the US and the software is used to track down and then deport suspected illegal immigrants. 

[00:10:28] And while some software engineers might have signed up to the mission of a company that aims to help stop terrorist attacks, catch child sex offenders and violent criminals, they had soon discovered that the software that they were creating could also be used to carry out policies that they might not agree with.

[00:10:53] But despite the pleas and protests from employees, the company didn't back down, and it actually just renewed a huge $42 million contract with ICE. 

[00:11:08] The view of Palantir is that it's not the job of a technology company to decide US government policy and that it would be treasonous to not provide services to the US government.

[00:11:23] However, cynics might say that these contracts are just too lucrative to turn down, they pay too well. 

[00:11:31] Indeed, Palantir can charge $3,000 per day per engineer, and one of its largest US army contracts is worth $800 million. 

[00:11:44] Palantir as a company has evidently done a lot of good. 

[00:11:49] It's said that it has helped prevent a massive global web of cyber intrusion by the Chinese government, it has predicted the locations of bombs in Afghanistan before they could go off and it helped convict the fraudster Bernie Madoff. 

[00:12:08] However, the question mark remains over how deep Palantir can see into our lives and what we are prepared to give up in order to live in a slightly safer world. 

[00:12:22] The company's name certainly suggests that it wants to see everything, to be omnipotent.

[00:12:29] If you remember Lord Of The Rings, a Palantir is a seeing stone, the dark orb, the crystal ball used by the evil wizard Sarumon, to be able to see in darkness or blinding lights. 

[00:12:47] That's certainly how Palantir seems to think of itself.

[00:12:52] Well, you could say that things didn't end that well for Sarumon, or you could say that the idea of a Palantir in the hands of the government is almost as scary as it gets. 

[00:13:06] Okay then, I hope that this has been an interesting look into this secretive, mysterious, but incredibly important company.

[00:13:16] It's pretty fascinating, but terrifying at the same time. 

[00:13:21] As always, if you have thoughts, feedback, questions on the podcast, I'd love to hear from you. 

[00:13:27] You can get in touch at hi - HI - @leonardoenglish.com or over on Facebook or Instagram. 

[00:13:35] And again, if you haven't yet checked out our new animating transcripts, then do go and check those out.

[00:13:42] You can head to leonardoenglish.com and have a look. 

[00:13:47] Using the animated transcripts means that the words flash across the screen as you hear them, so you should be able to follow every single word and not miss one thing. 

[00:13:59] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English.

[00:14:04] I'm Alastair Budge and I will catch you in the next episode.

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