Jan 17, 2024 - Technology

Palantir CEO Alex Karp: U.S. eating everyone's lunch on AI

Palantir CEO Alex Karp talks into a microphone as he leans back in chair

Palantir CEO Alex Karp interviewed by Axios at Davos. Photo: Dani Ammann/Axios

Within 10 years, around 95% of the world's top tech companies will be American thanks to the U.S. lead in AI, Palantir CEO and co-founder Alex Karp told Axios' Mike Allen at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Why it matters: Karp predicted that in time AI will deliver very large GDP growth — but that will benefit only a handful of countries and companies, leading to political and social "dislocation."

  • A "strong military gets stronger, strong software companies get stronger, people who are in a weaker position get much weaker," he said.

Yes, but: A "crazy political situation and GDP growth? That's much better than [a] nice political situation and no GDP growth," Karp said.

What they're saying: "The startup scene here [in Europe] is anemic," Karp said, noting tech's "real growth and providers are in America."

  • "Any one of the products we built would be the number one startup in Germany — and we have five" products, he said.
  • America's advantage will compound because of the lack of big tech companies in Europe today, he said — handing "almost all the value" of AI to the U.S.

Driving the news: Karp thinks tech companies face a stark choice about supplying customers in authoritarian countries.

  • "You also have to tell some of these tech companies: you cannot work in America and with their adversaries. And if you do, we're gonna screw you," he said.

The intrigue: Karp is not happy about Europe's tech flops. "The purpose of Palantir was to fight for the West. And so I really want Europe to get its act together," he said.

Karp compared the challenge of building a successful tech company to building a rock band.

  • A mega band needs more than talent, it also needs a narrative, and "there's a religious element" that rewards believers in a given piece of tech or company.
Go deeper