What do you think? Is a floating sea colony science fiction or sound planning? In your opinion, is a floating sea colony a work of science fiction or feasible planning of architectural engineering?
Peter Thiel the founder of PayPal invested $1.25 million in an ambitious project–floating, autonomous colonies at sea. The entrepreneur who pays students $100,000 each to drop out of school and pursue business ideas, is one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific investors. Thiel’s fellows, students years old or younger, will leave institutions such as Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University, to work with a network of more than 100 Silicon Valley mentors and further develop their ideas in industries like education, biotechnology and energy.
More than 400 people applied for the fellowship, and 45 of them were flown out to San Francisco in late March to present their ideas to Thiel’s foundation and the network of Silicon Valley mentors.
After selling his then-startup PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion, Thiel bankrolled Facebook in its infancy. A series of successful investments has subsequently placed him nicely on the Forbes billionaire list.
Thiel, inspired by Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, has said that indeed he thinks sea colonization is an important step in securing mankind’s future on Earth. Thiel said:
“Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that Seasteading was an obvious step towards encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public sector models around the world,” Thiel said in a statement in 2008, when he made his initial investment ($500,000) in the project.
His most recent grant of some $1.25 million for the Seasteading Institute could help propel development of independent island colonies off of the coast of San Francisco Bay.
A former Google engineer and the grandson of Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman, Patri Friedman is working on the seasteading project. Friedman told Details magazine:
Big ideas start as weird ideas…The ultimate goal is to open a frontier for experimenting with new ideas for government.”
Friedman and Thiel say that the colony should be ready for “full-time settlement” in seven years. A professor of architecture at UC Berkeley, Margaret Crawford and world famous expert on urban planning, however, is not so convinced. “It’s a silly idea without any urban-planning implications whatsoever,” she said to Details magazine.