Apr 3, 2011 - Podcast    4 Comments

Innovation on the Ocean

What does it take to get 1,000 floating countries to set sail upon the oceans of planet earth? The Seasteading Institute (TSI) is an ambitious organization that wants to foster such platforms of innovation to apply the same entrepreneurial spirit of high tech to the high seas. This podcast features an interview with the director of business strategy for TSI, Max Marty. He steps off the edge with me and to cover a wide range of ocean living logistical issues including where could seasteads operate, how to foster a community of them, pirates, viable business models for floating cities, and where to draw the line between self-sufficiency and specialization. With the impact of humanities’ industrial scale lifestyle showing damage to planetary symptoms that only the most devout skeptic can continue to ignore, the climate change scales could soon tip so heavily that living on the high seas of this planet would become not a luxury but a necessity. Enjoy this episode to find out what sorts of innovation on the ocean are on the horizon!

Show Notes

Music Notes

I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I had in creating it. Feedback in any form is always welcome. You can send emails to jamie@steppinofftheedge.com, use the contact form on the steppinofftheedge.com website or find me on twitter @stepofftheedge.


  • I think the point mentioned in the end of the podcast that the 150 nations in the world currently are the blood-clots in the global system, from the point of view of the development of our society in an evolutionary sense is a bit wrong (I do agree from an economic point of view though). The idea of a nation-state has itself evolved in our culture, and the states we see today might be the results of such evolution of ideas, instead of being obstacles to that evolution. Of course the evolution of ideas continues and hopefully we will see new and better structures evolve than what we have today. Hopefully seasteading will be able to accelerate this process greatly.

    • Thanks for the feedback. The point you mention was a quote of Buckminster Fuller.

      If you take a broad definition of nations as “groups of people united by language and culture” then I could agree that they aren’t so much blood clots as maybe cellular membranes which help to regulate the movement of materials into and out of the cell.

      In the nations case this would be to regulate the flow of people, goods, ideas, etc. which still positions them as status quo groups with a vested interest in slowing the progress / evolution of ideas. This paragraph from further in that Wikipedia article suggests that is a planned outcome of most nation-states:

      The most obvious impact of the nation-state, as compared to its non-national predecessors, is the creation of a uniform national culture, through state policy. The model of the nation-state implies that its population constitutes a nation, united by a common descent, a common language and many forms of shared culture. When the implied unity was absent, the nation-state often tried to create it. It promoted a uniform national language, through language policy. The creation of national systems of compulsory primary education and a relatively uniform curriculum in secondary schools, was the most effective instrument in the spread of the national languages. The schools also taught the national history, often in a propagandistic and mythologised version, and (especially during conflicts) some nation-states still teach this kind of history

      I share your hope that seasteads are given the opportunity to accelerate this process of evolution as it is sorely needed. We’ve had close to 400 years of this system.

  • […] an equal quality of life with less impact on our environment or others. Episodes #0006 – Innovation on the Ocean – and #0007 – A Contour Crafting Conversation – stand out in my mind in this […]

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