Seasteading: The Path of the Future?

hyperspacewizard

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So I watched this video recently it well done and introduced me to something I had never heard of before sea steading. I find the concept fascinating though I’m concerned about the amount of money and skill to really make it a reality. The ability for like minded people to just create artificial island nations sounds straight out of sci fy.

What is everyone else’s thoughts and feelings? I’ll leave some links to some seasteading stuff.





 

LordsFire

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It's an interesting thought experiment.

It would require a power like the US using its military to guarantee the safety and security of these seasteads. Otherwise nations like China would happily sail over and snap up that big chunk of skilled labor just waiting for new masters.

It might be a viable small-scale thing; an escape valve for some people who don't want to live in any of the current nations, but the nature of human psychology makes a wide-spread movement that includes a significant portion of the world's population functionally impossible.

Another major problem, is that we already have answers to what systems of government work best. A lot of People just don't like those answers much.
 

Cherico

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It's an interesting thought experiment.

It would require a power like the US using its military to guarantee the safety and security of these seasteads. Otherwise nations like China would happily sail over and snap up that big chunk of skilled labor just waiting for new masters.

It might be a viable small-scale thing; an escape valve for some people who don't want to live in any of the current nations, but the nature of human psychology makes a wide-spread movement that includes a significant portion of the world's population functionally impossible.

Another major problem, is that we already have answers to what systems of government work best. A lot of People just don't like those answers much.
but the socialist utopia will work this time pinky swear. :whistle:
 

LordsFire

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but the socialist utopia will work this time pinky swear. :whistle:
Eh, this at least isn't a socialist utopia concept. It's a concept that would fail due to external forces, not internal. Some of the seasteads would fail to internal forces, but that's part of their point. Have a lot of different political experiments.

Here in the US, if the Federal Government could follow the bloody constitution, the 50 states would already be serving this 'labratory of democracy' function.
 

liberty90

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There was a failed (extremely small-scale) seasteading experiment around Thailand:

(They currently try again inside of territorial waters of Panama and under laws of Panama)
 

hyperspacewizard

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I wonder how viable a fleet of cruise ship size vessels with each of them being specialized and constantly on the move to stay out of trouble would be. Instead of basically creating artificial islands something more like a sea based quarian fleet?

I would think as long as you stayed well away from China and had at least some decent levels of self defense pirates wouldn’t be that big of an issue

Though I do wonder what’s the best number of a population you would need to start with
 
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Bacle

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I wonder how viable a fleet of cruise ship size vessels with each of them being specialized and constantly on the move to stay out of trouble would be. Instead of basically creating artificial islands something more like a sea based quarian fleet?

I would think as long as you stayed well away from China and had at least some decent levels of self defense pirates wouldn’t be that big of an issue

Though I do wonder what’s the best number of a population you would need to start with
The whole 'seasteading' concept has a lot of appeal, but it would be better to do space-steading instead, in the long term.

The concept is sound in the short term though. The comparison to the quarian migrant fleet is an apt one, though I expect security deals will be made with certain coast guards and navies.

We may see a return of the naval militia for policing and safety duties among floating communities.
 

LordsFire

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I wonder how viable a fleet of cruise ship size vessels with each of them being specialized and constantly on the move to stay out of trouble would be. Instead of basically creating artificial islands something more like a sea based quarian fleet?

I would think as long as you stayed well away from China and had at least some decent levels of self defense pirates wouldn’t be that big of an issue

Though I do wonder what’s the best number of a population you would need to start with
There's international maritime law about what ships can and cannot be armed, which is the whole reason groups like Somali Pirates with podunk little speedboats can threaten entire super-freighters with impunity. A fleet of large ships with even a moderate armament, would make a lot of less-powerful nations pretty leery.
 

liberty90

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I wonder how viable a fleet of cruise ship size vessels with each of them being specialized and constantly on the move to stay out of trouble would be. Instead of basically creating artificial islands something more like a sea based quarian fleet?
Considered 1001 times by the seasteading community, maintenance costs are enormous and make that unviable.
 

hyperspacewizard

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The whole 'seasteading' concept has a lot of appeal, but it would be better to do space-steading instead, in the long term.

The concept is sound in the short term though. The comparison to the quarian migrant fleet is an apt one, though I expect security deals will be made with certain coast guards and navies.

We may see a return of the naval militia for policing and safety duties among floating communities.
I mean the whole idea of seasteading in any form seems to me like a great prototype for space colonies. I really doubt once space colonies become self sufficient or at least gain sufficient economic strength and ability to trade that the population will want to be under the rule and law of earth based governments so to me creating a bunch of different styles of governments and maybe even some technology of seasteading could be helpful to that end.

Plus I want for real rapture lol I want all the craziest ideal to be tried like I really would like one seasteading place to have a government where everyone was a part of there legislative branch like I’ve seen it in fiction before and with our current tech the writing reading and voting wouldn’t be impossible so I wonder how it would work out. I want a seastead to try something completely different how about one that your only allowed to run for office if you pass a series of test of mental abilities. The whole concept is great.
 

Bear Ribs

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So this will probably ramble a bit. I've lived on a boat before and plan to retire to live on a boat when my (too) fast-approaching old age hits me. I've done quite a bit of research and looked into life on the sea.

Here's the issue with SeaSteading: boats are expensive. Not only are they expensive to build, they're maintenance hogs that need about 10%* of their construction cost each year in maintenance. Further boats have relatively tiny amounts of space. A boat can quickly feel like a prison if you can't get off, not only is the boat's cabin substituting for your house, but it's deck is basically substituting for your yard and it's galley is not only your kitchen but also the local grocery store since it needs to store everything you'll eat for [duration of voyage]. Regular shore visits are required for most people to feel comfortable which is fine for people who just want to laze around and sail in their retirement years but doesn't work if you want a sovereign boat nation.

Nor do boats offer amazing amounts of freedom. Yes, they sound like it and yes, having no neighbors and no other humans from horizon to horizon is an awesome and humbling feeling and I love it. But you also have to be ludicrously disciplined for that lifestyle. Don't like the layout of your room? Tough, it's part of the structure, should have planned better. Like knicknacks? Tough, you don't have room for them and in fact have to get rid of everything except absolute essentials because space is limited, power is limited, water is limited, space in your blackwater tank for your own waste is limited, and unless you want to throw your garbage in the sea you've got to watch that lest your boat stink and fester and biblical-scale mold or insect plagues attack you. Even bathing is troublesome when you have to ration every drop of fresh water so don't plan on swimming too much because you need to wash the salt off your skin.

Ultimately boats cost more for less space than land. Floating cities are ultimately just really slow boats, they still need all the expensive infrastructure. Generally speaking the boat life is for the wealthy and/or retired who enjoy that life. In order for a hypothetical floating city/fleet to operate, it has to overcome the innate cost disadvantage it has vs. land.

I see it commonly put forward that outside of restrictive national laws, the fleet will attract geniuses who's brilliant discoveries will pay for the fleet. But this presumes that a large number of geniuses want to live on a ship with it's attendant risk of pirates and storms and cramped conditions, rather than a nice college campus where the labs have acreages of space rather than square footages. It also presumes that every nation on the planet is restricting their own research for no apparent reason, and that further they fall into a very specific level of restriction where every nation in the world is too squeamish to do their own research, but not too squeamish to pay the fleet geniuses for said research and certainly not squeamish enough to send a naval force to stop whatever Dr. Mengele experiments they have going on. These thought experiments often revolve on the value of being away from the restrictive laws of land-based nations without recognizing that due to every last square foot and rivet needing to be in it's proper place and every drop of water and crumb of food being measured, boat life gives you far less freedom in day-to-day living than land life does. Granted being able to sail around at will is nice but as a scientist living on a massive research ship, you don't actually have that freedom, whatever complex council governs the ship does.

Ultimately you have to find a resource to exploit that exists on the sea and not on land. Fish are obvious but fishing boats already do this, and better than the hypothetical fleet because fishing boats don't need to blow tons of space on sufficient living quarters and entertainment facilities to be comfortable to live on. Research is okay as long as you're specifically researching oceanic phenomenon but governments already have research vessels so you have to find some advantage over them. Undersea mineral deposits are possible but will be exploited by land-based mining companies faster than sea-based mining companies can do it, since the land-based companies can access vast factories to build their mining equipment on land (and this already happens with offshore oil rigs).

In the end there's pretty much one thing the ocean has that you can't get on land, and that's ocean. Needless to say tourism is the biggest reason to live on the sea with mariculture second, and, in fact, oceanic cities already exist (and are quietly ignored by the people saying they want to build an oceanic city). Seaventures, for instance, is an abandoned oil rig that was converted into a luxury hotel with diving tourism as it's main draw. There's also Sealand, a sovreign nation built on an abandoned fort slightly outside British Territorial waters which has a hilarisad history of trying to be an indepedent nation and constantly getting attacked by pirates (and at one point nearly bought by The Pirate Bay) taking it over despite being in the middle of the EU where you'd think that wouldn't be happening.

I have seen one decent proposal for a real large-scale floating city, the author proposed powering it with OTECs and then using the vast power an OTEC can potentially generate to create hydrogen which would be shipped to shore for sale, while also using the nutrient-rich deep-sea water the OTEC brought up to grow various algae and shellfish in farms on the lower levels for export. It was actually a fairly decent piece of science fiction, though there's a few breakthroughs needed and in particular, the kilometers-long pipes needed to power an OTEC are still ruinously expensive (and need a mountain of work to make sure they aren't promptly ruined by all manner of sea life growing on and clogging them). Still significantly more viable than assuming geniuses want to live on boats by preference, though there's still little reason not to build the OTEC on shore and do the mariculture there instead of trying to build a city somewhere miles from land.

*That's a vague rule of thumb, older boats will want more as their parts wear out and some designs are obviously more maintenance-intensive than others.
 

liberty90

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This is why seasteading is not about boats.

Like I said before, ships are not taken seriously by the seasteading movement for good reasons, so I cannot understand need to dispute things with this strawman.

If you want to see what is really experimented with, look at the Ocean Builders project.

 

Bear Ribs

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One thing to note is that there is a fair chance we'll see a major bump in SeaSteading in the next few years.

There's around 4000 assorted oil rigs in the Caribbean area right now, and they're becoming increasingly unprofitable. Most of them are slated to close down within a decade.

This rigs are so cheap once the oil's gone that traditionally, rather then try to do anything with them them simply crush the rig into the ocean in hopes that it will become an artificial reef in the Rigs to Reefs program. SeaVenture got it's start because the oil companies would actually pay you to get rid of the old rigs in the 80s, though today you'd have to pay to buy a rig at around scrap value. Still that would beat the pants off trying to build a floating island from scratch, so long as you don't actually want to be outside everybody's territorial waters (which, given how that's worked for every moron who's tried, is a bad idea anyway).
 

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How will Seasteading handle the risk from Tsunamis and Rogue Waves?
If a habitat is properly weighted on the base, and/or has most of it's mass underwater, the wave should just crash through it/ride through it.

May not be terribly comfortable, on par with an earthquake/car hitting your house and knocking shit around, but fairly survivable I would think.
 

Bear Ribs

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How will Seasteading handle the risk from Tsunamis and Rogue Waves?
Tsunamis barely exist for anybody at sea. Much as waves don't turn into foamy breakers until they reach shallow water, a tsunami is basically just a ripple that extends deep into the ocean and moves fast. It turns into a nightmare when it gets close to land and suddenly the water isn't deep enough to handle it's deep roots so it's pushed up, and up, and up. But when you're not in the surf zone? Boats get hit by tsunamis all the time and don't notice.

Rogue waves are a bigger issue since they're on the surface (and unpredictable), but can be overcome by proper engineering. Hurricanes present an issue as well, but are survivable with good engineering and early habitats should be placed outside hurricane alley, or in relatively sheltered areas like the Mediterranean and Caribbean. As I mentioned above, Offshore Oil Rigs have basically solved all these problems by virtue of being large semi-portable sea platforms designed to last several decades at sea. The weird Apple Store pods we see above... probably just an artist's conception with no actual practical value (is there even a way to get to a boat on the water?).
 

hyperspacewizard

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You know if nothing else seasteading could create an interesting tourist attraction just because of the artistic freedom it allows creating your own artificial island could lead to some amazing views.

Also the seafood restaurant would be great lol the freshest fish
 

liberty90

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The weird Apple Store pods we see above... probably just an artist's conception with no actual practical value (is there even a way to get to a boat on the water?).
That is pretty much more elegant and refined version of the solution used around Thailand (before the Thai navy destroyed the prototype). Much more futuristic, but the same basic promise I think?





To use a comparision, it's like a shitty soviet car from 1970' and a modern Mercedes, but both had 4 wheels.
 

CarlManvers2019

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How do people deal with the occasional shark attack or giant squid attack? Or the occasional gigantic prehistoric underwater predator attack?
 
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