If you don’t remember Palmer Luckey, let me jog your memory. He was the guy who founded Oculus and left Facebook in the midst of a $2 billion lawsuit. As if he could not have a worse view in the public eye, he is joining team Trump and building a virtual border wall to sell to the Trump administration.
According to the New York Times, sources say that Peter Thiel’s investment firm wants to invest this new border startup. Founders Fund want to fund the lidar, infrared sensors, and cameras for patrolling the border in which will be the features of the virtual border. This same technology can be used in ways that could benefit our country by protecting military bases, or anything that will protect our security.
Thiel’s involvement in Luckey’s idea is not only significant because Theil is rich and powerful, but also because he loves to stay behind the scenes. Founders Fund reportedly wants to build “in the mold of Palantir Technologies, a data-mining company co-founded by Mr. Thiel, which serves a wide range of clients, including intelligence agencies.” If these details are true it would be specifically unnerving given both the secrecy of Palantri as well as the role of Theil’s involvement in the Trump administration as an advisor.
When news broke of the 24-year-old genius funding a pro-Trumo group, Nimble America, dedicated to trolling and was dating a prominent member of GamerGate, this uncovered that Luckey was a complicated guy. As if all this was not strange enough for you, Facebook disappeared Luckey for months after the reports about Luckey Nimble America. Luckey was a ghost in the public eye for nearly four months after that, and only showed face when he had to testify in federal court over allegations that Oculus and Facebook had stolen intellectual property from game developers.
Now the question is raised, what was Luckey doing during his time away? The Times reports the Ocilus founder has been dipping into his virtual reality fortune, Forbes estimated that Luckey’s net worth is $730 million, to buy up bunker-ready land all over the country.
According to the Times report, they said,
“Among his assets is about 85 acres of property in upstate New York, including a luxury home built atop a decommissioned Atlas missile silo. … He owns a second property in Chico, Calif., with decommissioned Titan 1 missile silos, according to records. … Mr. Luckey also owns several military vehicles and, through various companies, three helicopters, and he received a student pilot’s license last year, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. He recently purchased a marina in Orange County, Calif., where he grew up, according to public records.”
These seem like odd investments to everyone, unless you believe the world is coming to an end. Despite speculation, we don’t know what Luckey plans to do. For now, this is a defense startup that is self-funded, while the Thiel connection is never set in stone. The new details about his enthusiasm for all things defense military help us understand Palmer Luckey and his complicated actions, not necessarily in a good way.