The first AI nation? A ship with 10,000 Nvidia H100 GPUs worth $500 million could become the first ever sovereign territory that relies entirely on artificial intelligence for its future

 An image of a BlueSea Frontier Compute Cluster at sea.
An image of a BlueSea Frontier Compute Cluster at sea.

A floating data center containing thousands of Nvidia GPUs has raised questions over whether the practice could result in the creation of sovereign AI states in the future.

The BlueSea Frontier Compute Cluster (BSFCC), created by US firm Del Complex, is essentially a gargantuan barge containing 10,000 Nvidia H100 GPUs worth a combined $500 million.

In an announcement on X (formerly Twitter), Del Complex said the floating data center will offer “industry leading performance, advanced water cooling and solar power for environmental safety”. This will be complemented by “kinetic risk mitigation” provided by an on-board security team.

Swerving AI regulations

The firm described the BSFCC as the “pinnacle of compute and autonomy”.

Autonomy, it seems, is the key focus here for Del Complex. The idea behind the project points toward the eventual creation of ‘sovereign nation states’ dedicated to AI development.

In its announcement on X, the firm said the tightly-guarded barge could operate in international waters, and thus potentially be exempt from international AI regulations.

The claims from Del Complex come in the wake of growing discussions over the global regulation of AI in recent months. Earlier this week, US president Joe Biden signed an executive order outlining rules around generative AI development.

The executive order will see US agencies create new standards for AI safety and security, and will likely act as a precursor to any upcoming legislative action on the technology.

Del Complex appears to believe the BSFCC will help organizations avoid this regulatory scrutiny due to the fact the data center is located in a maritime “no man’s land”.

“Government overreach not only stalls the pace of innovation, but also interferes with the cosmic endowment of humanity,” the firm said. “With rising global concerns about the stringent regulation of AI model training, Del Complex offers a sanctuary in international waters.”

“BSFCC is the solution to…the ongoing draconian AI regulations and oversight…the need to scale your frontier models exponentially…the risk posed by housing your compute in traditional cloud compute platforms.”

Long-term, the plan could eventually involve a fleet of floating data centers roaming international waters to allow users to circumvent both regulations and, notably, tax obligations.

“Each BSFCC operates as its own sovereign nation state deep in international waters, free from the constraints of regulatory bodies,” Del Complex explained.

“These networked states are untouched by decelerationist rhetoric, and offer additional benefits as tax shelter opportunities.”

Could Del Complex’s plan work?

Del Complex appears confident that the ‘statehood’ status of each data center aligns with international laws on sovereignty.

The company said the status of each would be recognized through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Montevideo Convention.

This is due to the fact that each would have a permanent population in the form of security forces and staff, a ‘defined territory’, a government, and the “capacity to enter into relations with other states”.

“BSFCCs are each governed by their own charter, a document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of residents and visitors,” the company said.

“Each charter is a living document, able to be amended by the operators of the BSFCC and their corporate partners.”

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