David Kirkpatrick

June 11, 2008

More on libertarian seasteading

Filed under: et.al., Politics, Science — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:35 pm

I’ve blogged about this subject before, and here’s a take from Cato-at-Liberty by Timothy B. Lee on libertarian seasteading. I think the concept of post-, extra-national libertarian communities is very interesting. My above linked blog post covers Peter Thiels’ investment in the Seasteading Institute. Looks like Tim also thinks this monetary input is a strong factor in this idea’s potential for success.

From the second link:

Over at Ars Technica, I have an in-depth discussion of seasteading, an effort by a group of Silicon Valley libertarians to develop technology for living on the open oceans in a cost-effective manner. They argue that government is an industry with excessive barriers to entry, and they aim to change that by creating a turnkey solution for starting your own community.

History is littered with utopian projects, libertarian and otherwise, that fell far short of their lofty goals. At first glance, the Seasteading Institute looks like just another utopian scheme. But there are at least two reasons to think this one might accomplish more than its predecessors. First, recognizing that it would take many decades to develop a self-sufficient ocean metropolis, Friedman and his partners have chosen to focus largely on short-term engineering challenges. They want to build cheap, durable sea platforms that anyone can purchase. Second, they’ve raised half a million dollars from Peter Thiel, the libertarian entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal and is now a major investor in Facebook. Thiel’s backing will allow them to move beyond the extensive background work they’ve already done and begin the expensive task of actually designing and building their first prototype, which they hope to splash down in San Francisco Bay in the next few years.

May 22, 2008

Peter Thiel invests in libertarian micronations

From KurzweilAI.net — I’ve recently blogged about PayPal founder, Peter Thiel. He’s making news again by investing in offshore communities destined to become libertarian strongholds. Pretty cool idea if you ask me …

Peter Thiel Makes Down Payment on Libertarian Ocean Colonies
Wired, May 19, 2008

With a $500,000 donation from PayPal founder Peter Thiel, a Google engineer and a former Sun Microsystems programmer have launched The Seasteading Institute, an organization dedicated to creating experimental ocean communities “with diverse social, political, and legal systems.”


Artist’s conception of a large seastead based on the spur design (Valdemar Duran)

The seasteaders want to build their first prototype for a few million dollars, by scaling down and modifying an existing off-shore oil rig design known as a “spar platform.”

 
Read Original Article>>

May 6, 2008

Reason mag interviews Peter Thiel

Here’s an interesting Reason interview with Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and angel investor of Facebook. They discuss libertarianism, The Singularity and the ongoing progress of science.

From Ronald Baily’s introduction:

I first met Peter Thiel—co-founder of PayPal, angel investor in Facebook, founder of the hedge fund Clarium Capital Management, adviser to the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and self-described libertarian—at a party in his San Francisco home last September. Perhaps 100 digerati wandered through Thiel’s sleek Marina District townhouse, chatting amiably over wine and canapés in rooms filled with up-to-the-minute abstract art.

The party launched the second annual Singularity Summit, held at the nearby Palace of Fine Arts during the ensuing two days. The Singularity, a term coined by the science fiction writer Vernor Vinge in 1983, refers to the eventual technological creation of smarter-than-human intelligence. Just as our model of physics breaks down when it tries to describe the center of a black hole, Vinge observed, our attempts to model the future break down when we try to foresee a world that contains smarter-than-human intelligences. The Singularity Institute takes it for granted that exponentially accelerating information technology will produce such artificial intelligences; its chief goal is to make sure they will be friendly to humans.

In 1987, while studying philosophy at Stanford, Thiel helped found the libertarian/conservative student newspaper The Stanford Review. As a law student at Stanford he was president of the university’s Federalist Society. After working briefly for the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell in New York, Thiel switched to trading derivatives for Credit Suisse Financial. In the mid-1990s, Thiel transformed himself into a venture capitalist and a serial entrepreneur. He returned to California, where he has backed a number of startups. In addition to PayPal and Facebook, Thiel has invested in the social networking site LinkedIn, the search engine company Powerset, and the Web security provider IronPort.

Thiel also joined the culture wars by co-authoring The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford (1996), and was an executive producer for the 2005 feature film Thank You for Smoking, based on Christopher Buckley’s politically incorrect novel of the same name. Besides backing the Singularity Institute, Thiel pledged a $3.5 million matching grant in 2006 to the Methuselah Foundation to support its anti-aging research agenda.

I interviewed Thiel between sessions at the Singularity Summit.

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