French Polynesia could become home to the Seasteading Institute’s first floating city after presidential meeting

The Seasteading Institute has announced that it met with Édouard Fritch, the President of French Polynesia, in order to discuss the development of a floating city in the region.

The meeting, held on Friday, was attended by an international delegation from the Institute and followed a tour of several potential sites as well as meetings with other officials.

The delegation has looked at the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti, Tupai, and Raiatea as possible locations for the Seasteading and met with Teva Rohfristch, Minister for Economic Recovery, the Blue Economy and Digital Policy, Sylviane Terooatea, Mayor of Raiatea, and Gaston Tong Sang, former president and Mayor of Bora Bora and Tupai.

The tour was part of the Seasteading Institute’s hope to negotiate a Special Economic Zone with French Polynesia in order to construct one of their floating cities in the region.

seastead-meeting

“We look forward to working with French Polynesia to develop floating islands that will benefit our host country and our international community of seasteaders,” said Randolph Hencken, executive director of the Seasteading Institute.

“With numerous protected waters where we could station the first pilot platforms, French Polynesia offers many optimal locations for seasteading from an engineering point of view.”

The Institute has already undertaken tests of its design for the floating platforms that will ultimately make up the city and proved that, provided the Seasteading was located in a protected area of the sea, it would be perfectly buoyant.

Given their plans to begin construction of the first such city within four years, the securing of a location for the city has been a vital step that has thus far eluded the Institute. The visit to French Polynesia however, seems promising in the fit between the project’s goals and the needs of the nation.

Images courtesy of The Seasteading Institute

Images courtesy of The Seasteading Institute

From an engineering standpoint, the location is ideal due to its range of protected waters while the Polynesian people would benefit from the economic possibilities offered by the Seasteading as well as the potential solutions it offers to rising sea levels.

If approved, the Polynesian platforms will serve as a test pilot in order to prove the final constructed model, as well as showcasing the actual functioning of the Seasteading as a city in collaboration with the host nation.

Former Minister of Tourism for French Polynesia Marc Collins expressed his support for The Seasteading Institute’s vision.

“Polynesian culture has a long history of seafaring across the Pacific Ocean that will contribute to this ambitious project,” he said.

“More than most nations, our islands are impacted by rising sea levels, and resilient floating islands could be one tangible solution for us to maintain our populations anchored to their islands.  For many Polynesians, leaving our islands is not an option.”

Robot takes first steps towards building artificial lifeforms

A robot equipped with sophisticated AI has successfully simulated the creation of artificial lifeforms, in a key first step towards the eventual goal of creating true artificial life.

The robot, which was developed by scientists at the University of Glasgow, was able to model the creation of artificial lifeforms using unstable oil-in-water droplets. These droplets effectively played the role of living cells, demonstrating the potential of future research to develop living cells based on building blocks that cannot be found in nature.

Significantly, the robot also successfully predicted their properties before they were created, even though this could not be achieved using conventional physical models.

The robot, which was designed by Glasgow University’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, Professor Lee Cronin, is driven by machine learning and the principles of evolution.

It has been developed to autonomously create oil-in-water droplets with a host of different chemical makeups and then use image recognition to assess their behaviour.

Using this information, the robot was able to engineer droplets to have different properties­. Those which were found to be desirable could then be recreated at any time, using a specific digital code.

“This work is exciting as it shows that we are able to use machine learning and a novel robotic platform to understand the system in ways that cannot be done using conventional laboratory methods, including the discovery of ‘swarm’ like group behaviour of the droplets, akin to flocking birds,” said Cronin.

“Achieving lifelike behaviours such as this are important in our mission to make new lifeforms, and these droplets may be considered ‘protocells’ – simplified models of living cells.”

One of the oil droplets created by the robot

The research, which is published today in the journal PNAS, is one of several research projects being undertaken by Cronin and his team within the field of artificial lifeforms.

While the overarching goal is moving towards the creation of lifeforms using new and unprecedented building blocks, the research may also have more immediate potential applications.

The team believes that their work could also have applications in several practical areas, including the development of new methods for drug delivery or even innovative materials with functional properties.

Mac spyware stole millions of user images

A criminal case brought against a man from Ohio, US has shed more light on a piece of Mac malware, dubbed Fruitfly, that was used to surreptitiously turn on cameras and microphones, take and download screenshots, log keystrokes, and steal tax and medical records, photographs, internet searches, and bank transactions from users.

Source: Ars Technica

Drone swarm attack strikes Russian military bases

Russia's Ministry of Defence claims its forces in Syria were attacked a week ago by a swarm of home-made drones. According to Russia's MoD Russian forces at the Khmeimim air base and Tartus naval facility "successfully warded off a terrorist attack with massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)"

Source: Science Alert

Las Vegas strip club employs robot strippers

A Las Vegas strip club has flown in robot strippers from London to 'perform' at the club during CES. Sapphire Las Vegas strip club managing partner Peter Feinstein said that he employed the robots because the demographics of CES have changed and the traditional female strippers aren’t enough to lure a crowd to the club anymore.

Source: Daily Beast

GM to make driverless cars without steering wheels or pedals by 2019

General Motors has announced it plans to mass-produce self-driving cars without traditional controls like steering wheels and pedals by 2019. “It’s a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide scale [autonomous vehicle] deployment and having the first production car with no driver controls,” GM President Dan Ammann told The Verge.

Source: The Verge

Russia-linked hackers "Fancy Bears" target the IOC

Following Russia's ban from the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, the Russia-linked hacking group "Fancy Bears" has published a set of apparently stolen emails, which purportedly belong to officials from the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee, and third-party groups associated with the organisations.

Source: Wired

Scientists discover ice cliffs on Mars

Using images provided by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists have described how steep cliffs, up to 100 meters tall, made of what appears to be nearly pure ice indicate that large deposits of ice may also be located in nearby underground deposits. The discovery has been described as “very exciting” for potential human bases.

Source: Science Mag