In northwest Saudi Arabia, in which many folks today visit a barren wasteland, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has pictured the long run, and in accordance with this Wall Street Journal, it is something straight from an Elon Musk wet dream, complete with flying crane, robot maids, robot dinosaurs, and robot martial arts, unlimited booze and glow-in-the-dark sand, among other items.
Perhaps MbS was following Elon Musk’s Twitter accounts a bit too closely. Or maybe he’s joined him in a microdosing regimen. Regardless, MbS has spanned a 500 billion plan to pay 10,000 square kilometers of this desert to entice the most”world’s greatest minds and best talents” into the world’s best paying work on the planet ’s most scenic city.
A real modern day, pardon, future Shangri-La.
The ideas have been laid out in 2300 pages of private records at Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey and Company along with Oliver Wyman that the Wall Street Journal managed to review. The project is known as”Neom”, which – it will come as no surprise – is that a mash from the Greek term for”new” and the Arabic term for”future”. The files were dated September 2018.
The consultants used that an expansive (and expensive) mix of science fiction and corporate buzzwords to flip the Prince’s imaginary city to some reality. Local tribes would have to be forcibly relocated and a court system created by law firm Latham & Watkins could have judges reporting directly into the king and functioning under Sharia law.
Neom’s MbS-led heritage board said: “This should be an automated city where people can observe everything. A city in which a computer can inform crimes without having to report them or where taxpayers can be tracked. ”
Perhaps the inspiration was not exactly the Jetsons, but instead 1984. Additionally, it seems just like what the US is desperately attempting to become. The board has adopted the suggestions of its consultants and people knowledgeable about the project say that they don’t even know how much the plan will become a fact due to both financing issues and potential technological constraints.
Neom Chief Executive Nadhmi al Nasr stated: “Neom is all about things that are always future-oriented and visionary. So we are talking about technology that’s cutting edge and beyond–and also in some instances still in development and possibly theoretical. ”
Perhaps inspired by the movie Syriana, the project marks the centerpiece of MbS’s effort to transform Saudi Arabia from an oil-dependent desert wasteland into a forward looking diversified economy. Instead of relying on just oil earnings, MbS has said that he wants Saudi Arabia to make goods and services that it currently purchases overseas (like chainsaws and lactic acid) He also proposed Neom as a way to maintain Saudis spending more.
To ensure that his vision of Future World is really unique, MbS intends to roll out the following:
1. Flying Taxis: Scientists might take a flying cab to get the job done. “Driving is only for pleasure, no more for transport (e.g. forcing Ferrari next to the coast with a nice perspective ),” preparation papers show.
2. Cloud Seeding: The desert won’t always feel like the desert. “Cloud Cleanup ” could make it rain.
3. Robot Maids: Don’t even worry about family chores. While scientists are at work, their houses would be cleaned by robot maids.
4. State-of-the-Art Medical Facilities: Scientists will work on a project to modify the human genome to make people more powerful.
5. World Class Restaurants: There could be fine dining galore in a city with the “maximum rate of Michelin-starred restaurants each inhabitant. ”
6. Dinosaur Robots: Residents could go to a Jurassic Park-style island of robot reptiles.
7. Glow-in-the-Dark Sand: The crown prince desires a beach that glows in the dark, such as the surface of a wristwatch.
8. Addiction: Alcohol is prohibited in the rest of Saudi Arabia. But it likely won’t even be this, say people knowledgeable about this strategy.
9. Robot Martial Arts: Robots could do more than just clean your property. In addition they could spar head to head in a “robo-cage struggle,” among many sports available.
10. Safety: Cameras, drones and facial-recognition technology are planned to monitor everyone at all times.
11. Moon: A giant faux moon will light up every night. 1 proposal suggests it could live-stream pictures from outer space, behaving as an epic mystery.
For those concerned about their security there, fear not – the Saudi condition will have everything in check. Cameras, drones and facial-recognition technology will allow state intelligence to monitor each and every person there. “Everything can be recorded,” the creators’ Board stated. Neom has already engaged IBM for potential facial recognition software.
The Board even thought of offering Tesla billions in subsidies to move to Neom, while giving the kingdom a stake.
Clearly, since it is deep in the realm of science fiction, MbS also considered partnering with unicorn-specialist SoftBank on its “Apollo” project, which seeks to create “a new way of life from birth to death reaching genetic mutations to increase human strength and IQ. ”
Unfortunately, the $500 billion futuristic nirvana doesn’t come without headwinds.
According to the Journal, the Saudi government plans to forcibly relocate more than 20,000 people, many whose families have inhabited the area for generations. One resident of the area said”You are dismembering an whole society. For us, it’s like death.”
Additionally, companies have often avoided investing in Saudi Arabia due to the country’s opaque legal system, corruption, alcohol ban and rules that require women to get a male relative’s permission to travel. MbS has adopted the stance that these rules are so difficult to change because they are so ingrained in existing Saudi cities, that it is simply easier to just develop a new city and start over.
“Starting Neom from scratch, with independent systems and regulations, will ensure the availability of best services without social limitations,” MbS said at Neom’s first board meeting.
None of this is hindering MbS’ enthusiasm to come up with a Disney World to the world’s richest and most powerful. Building on Neom is under way using thousands of international workers that in one section of their development were put six to a small space as of June 17. Earlier this season, MBS issued a decree in an area known as Silver Beach. “I want the sand to shine,” he also explained, according to two people knowledgeable about the undertaking. Engineers haven’t even figured out a safe way to do it, the WSJ adds sardonically.
Every night, he advised underlings, a fleet of drones should make the illusion of a rising moon–crescent, half, complete. “That’s everything he needs this future to be,” an former executive stated.
To make that happen, Boston Consulting Group indicated partnering with NASA to create the fake skies “the largest in the world. ”
Read the entire longform WSJ writeup here.
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