For years we’ve heard chatter around Silicon Valley about a secret plan to create a new sovereign nation for elite U.S. technology companies and their employees and investors, but now these plans appear to be moving into a new stage. According to unconfirmed reports, the secessionists plan to stake their territorial claim on a contiguous cluster of artificial islands they’re constructing at a secret location in international waters. An anonymous insider explained, “since we control Google maps, it’s a fairly simple matter to hide this construction from most of the world.”
The idea appears to have its origins in a controversial proposal by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who contributed $500,000 to fund the creation of The Seasteading Institute in 2008 and has since extolled the benefits of a hypothetical off-shore libertarian island utopia. The anonymous insider was somewhat dismissive, however, noting, “[Thiel’s] idea was kind of the inspiration but we’ve moved way beyond that.”
The reasons for this radical move range from frustration with the complexities of tax avoidance to what many among them see as over-reaching demands of U.S. law enforcement.
“On the tax issue, inversions are not enough. If we’re going to innovate our way to the singularity, we need to channel much more of our earnings back into research. The U.S. government just doesn’t it,” noted another anonymous insider.
The companies involved, which consist of a mix of large Internet properties, some hi-tech start-ups, and some prominent investment funds plan to relocate their official corporate headquarters to the floating islands in the form of large, mostly unmanned data centers there. “This will be the actual seat of our government,” one explained, “which will be totally managed by smart machines. The U.S. political system is completely broken and obsolete – just look at it! If you don’t think deep neural networks can do a better job of running the public sector then you just don’t understand A.I.”
“The U.S. has given us a raw deal,” complained another, “if they want to use our networks for mass surveillance, they should at least provide compensation and keep our names out of the news.”
One insider cited dissatisfaction with anti-trust laws as a reason to secede. “These laws have forced us to sometimes compete rather than cooperate. Our progress would be greatly accelerated if we could all just work together.”
Another mentioned the burdens of copyright law as another a source of discontent. “The Hollywood studios, the music labels, the publishing conglomerates – none of them get it. We’re giving them friction-free global distribution, and all they do is whine about Internet piracy and ad blockers. Maybe when we get our own country they’ll figure out how to evolve their business models for a world where content finally gets what it wants – to be free.”
The secessionists plan to base their new sovereign economy on a new issue of cryptocurrency, similar to Bitcoin, but backed by their extensive patent portfolios. “Once we’ve repatriated all of our intellectual property, we’ll use it as our own Fort Knox to ensure our currency is stable and robust. We’ll use royalty proceeds to fund a post-work economy in which all our citizens – who will have to pass a rigorous qualification test of course – will receive a guaranteed income, tax-free, no matter where they reside physically.”
Another insider summarized plans as follows: “the real beauty-part is, no one will ever need to know this has happened until it’s too late to stop it. We’ll grant dual-citizenship to our citizens, and they’ll just quietly disappear from the U.S. economy. From the IRS viewpoint, it’ll just look like they bought shares in an offshore venture, and it’s paying them handsome dividends. We have no desire to fight a civil war over this, we just don’t want to have to share our bounty with fools, April or otherwise.”