Peter Thiel’s Palantir is seeing ‘unprecedented’ demand for its military A.I. that its CEO calls ‘a weapon that will allow you to win’

Alex Karp, chief executive officer of Palantir Technologies Inc., on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.
Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Palantir Technologies Inc., the data analysis firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, is seeing “unprecedented” demand for an artificial intelligence platform, the first version of which will roll out to some customers this month. Shares were up as much as 21% early Tuesday after the company previewed its arrival. 

Based on comments made by Palantir’s executives on a call with analysts late Monday, and the company’s website, here’s what we know about its so-called AIP product:  

AIP stands for Artificial Intelligence Platform. According to the company’s site, the tool can be used by militaries to tap the kinds of AI models that power ChatGPT to aid in battlefield intelligence and decision-making. A demo video shows how the platform can display and analyze intel on enemy targets, identify potentially hostile situations, propose battle plans and send those plans to commanding officers for execution. 

The video emphasizes that the platform is safe and secure, allowing a client to decide what data the models can see and what they “can and can’t do on behalf of humans.”  

“If you wheel these technologies correctly, safely, and securely,” Palantir Chief Executive Officer Alex Karp said during Monday’s call, “you have a weapon that will allow you to win, that will scare your competitors and adversaries.”

Karp described the boom in large language models as a revolution “that will raise ships and sink ships.” Demand for AIP is like “nothing I’ve ever seen in 20 years of being involved in Palantir,” he said. “We are reorganizing our efforts aggressively to capitalize.”

Karp also said that while Palantir has had conversations about the platform with “hundreds” of potential partners, details like pricing and terms are still being decided. Palantir recently refocused its engineering teams and other resources around AI to meet demand, and are “running hard” at the opportunity, Karp told analysts.Play Video

AIP will also have civilian applications. Another demo video shows how a manufacturing company could use it to prepare for a hurricane strike by analyzing operations at its distribution centers and deciding whether to accelerate, delay or cancel orders. It will be capable of forecasting the impact to customer orders and revenue in these situations, the video shows. 

The company said during Monday’s call that a client in the insurance industry was given early access to the platform and described it as “years ahead” of other solutions it had seen.  

Within a few days of having access to the tool, Palantir said, the customer was able to build a “collaborative AI agent” to automate claims processing.

Palantir expects to provide more detail about its AI platform during a June 1 event at its former headquarters in Palo Alto.

(Updates with context starting in the first paragraph.)

–With assistance from Lizette Chapman.

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