A group of super-rich Silicon Valley nerds are sick of the man keeping them down. That's why they're planning to create their own sea-based country made up of floating structures that will be similar to oil rigs, but with houses and offices rather than, you know, oil rig stuff on board. And this isn't some conceptual plan; they're looking to have their first prototype in the San Francisco Bay within two years (to test the technology necessary, not to actually live).
Led by PayPal founder Peter Thiel and a Google engineer and Sun programmer, the Seasteading project aims to allow people who are looking to live independent of any government a chance to do just that. People will get a dinky 300 square feet of living space in a windowless tube floating in the ocean, but hey, there'll be satellite internet access!
Google's Patri Friedman has this to say about the plan:
"Government is an industry with a really high barrier to entry," he said. "You basically need to win an election or a revolution to try a new one. That's a ridiculous barrier to entry. And it's got enormous customer lock-in. People complain about their cellphone plans that are like two years, but think of the effort that it takes to change your citizenship."
Friedman estimates that it would cost a few hundred million dollars to build a seastead for a few thousand people. With costs that low, Friedman can see constellations of cities springing up, giving people a variety of governmental choices. If misguided policies arose, citizens could simply motor to a new nation.
"You can change your government without having to leave your house," he said.
It's a pretty insane idea, albeit an interesting one that's got a lot of money and smart people behind it.
What do you think? Would you live on a concrete island to enjoy smoking pot and downloading pirated movies without anyone to tell you not to? Personally, I like solid land and interpersonal contact a little bit too much to jump on board, but your mileage may vary. Graphic by Valdemar Duran [Wired via Gawker]