Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Financial Times' Izabella Kaminska Examines Seasteading and Is Bemused

More accurately, she comes down on the concept somewhere between bemused and dubious.
We've looked at the idea of islands or ships full of geeks, nerds and billionaire geek/nerds a few times over the years:

Oops that's Brighton Pier by Landscape Photographer of the Year, 2017 finalist Matt Cooper via Geographical.
How embarrassing, the roller coaster should have been a tip-off. 
Here's Izabella. I'll go look for the intended picture.

From FT Alphaville:

On the (non) viability of start-up islands
“Governments just don’t get better,” Mr. Quirk said. “They’re stuck in previous centuries. That’s because land incentivizes a violent monopoly to control it.”
So noted Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute to the New York Times this week.

For those who don’t know, the Seasteading Institute aims to liberate the world from the tyranny of governments by constructing dozens of self-governing floating islands by 2020. Initially, they will be based in and around French Polynesia and feature everything from homes, hotels, offices, restaurants (and no doubt casinos) for the bargain price of $60m.

The project is being part-bankrolled by Facebook investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, but also aims to raise funds through the hottest fundraising mechanism in town: the initial coin offering. (Because… well, even independent islands are better off on the blockchain apparently.)

But Quirk’s vision doesn’t stop there. He believes one day (c. 2050) there will be thousands of such islands offering different forms of governance options to would-be citizens from all around the world. What’s more, due to climate-change these islands may one day prove to be the Noah’s Ark-type solution for low-level lands threatened by rising sea levels.

It’s a nice utopian dream. But how do you go about forging it?

In the introductory video a good wedge of time is spent explaining that there’s a shortage of shallow waters to place such islands in, because, who could have anticipated, such territories are mostly already claimed by nation states. Darn it....

Although she doesn't go there I could envision a whole "Lord of the Flies" societal breakdown or at minimum something along the lines of 2015's "The Billionaire Battle in the Bahamas".
Or maybe "Sardinians Want Rome to Sell Them to the Swiss".

November 2011
Genius Engineer/Can't Get an H-1b Visa? "Blueseed: A Startup That Plans to House Would-Be Immigrant Innovators 12 Nautical Miles from Silicon Valley"
January 2013
Blueseed (Bringing a Whole New Meaning to Offshoring) Gets an Initial Investor
October 2016
Silicon Valley Artificial Island Nears Government Backing
Ah, here we go, 2012's "Why Buy a Yacht When the Same Money Will Get You a Floating Island?":
Okay, maybe not exactly the same money. This 57,000 square foot beauty runs "hundreds of millions of euros to build.”
From GizMag:
Owning one's own yacht must surely be one of man's greatest indulgences. The ability to take your own tailored environment anywhere you want....MORE

Yacht Island Design creates tailored environment like no other. Following on from its "Streets of Monaco" design is the "Tropical Island Paradise", a 90 metre island with a top speed of 15 knots.
The main deck is a beach "cove" of cabanas surrounding a massive ocean view swimming pool, with a waterfall falling nearby from the volcano.
A bar area, outdoor dining, there's a private spa and four VIP suites for friends, all with their own private balcony.
There's also a helicopter landing pad so those friends can drop in....MORE