The last great advance in governance technology was the American experiment with democracy more than 200 years ago. While democracy has brought health, wealth and happiness to billions of people, we also sense that modern governments are slowing down meaningful reform with one-size-fits-all policies. The clash of old rules and rapidly evolving technology leads us to believe that innovative systems of governance could serve humanity better than modern governments do today. We believe a new frontier is needed to once again test out new ways of living together.
In his keynote address at Google's I/O event on May 15, the company's CEO and cofounder Larry Page said, "There’s many, many exciting and important things you could do that you just can’t do because they are illegal or they are not allowed by regulation. And that makes sense, we don’t want our world to change too fast. But maybe we should set aside some small part of the world ... I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out some new things and figure out: What is the effect on society? What is the effect on people? Without having to deploy it into the normal world. And people who like those kinds of things can go there and experience that."
We applaud Page's call for the creation of safe places for experimentation, and seek to promote two viable options: seasteading and startup cities. For five years, The Seasteading Institute (www.seasteading.org) has been conducting research into the potential for permanent, innovative communities – floating at sea. At the same time, The Seasteading Institute's allies have been working to develop startup cities in existing nations where experiments in governance will be welcomed.
We welcome Page's voice in the call for a new frontier where innovators can chase their dreams. We encourage Page to invest resources into advancing these initiatives by collaborating with The Seasteading Institute and/or by assigning a team at Google to investigate and advance free-experimentation zones.