A Sci-Fi City Amidst The Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia’s Growing Obsession Towards AI


Stretching uninterrupted across miles and miles, the Arabian deserts seem to have been there for centuries. But all of it is about to change. Saudi Arab’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning to build a sci-fi city, Neom, from scratch, run by robots, that will be bigger than Dubai. The city is envisioned as “civilizational leap for humanity” by Muhammad Bin Salman who is ready to shed all the traditional constraints to make Neom a business hub for foreign investors. The city is said to have more robots than humans, indicating the crown prince’s passion towards robots and artificial intelligence.

“We want the main robot and the first robot in Neom to be Neom, robot number one,” the crown prince said in Riyadh. “Everything will have a link with artificial intelligence, with the Internet of Things—everything.”

The unveiling of the billion-dollar megacity project is also planned to have a tourist retreat, an entertainment park, and $4.8 billion makeovers for Jeddah waterfront on the coast of Red Sea.

Taking its obsession with android and artificial intelligence to next level, Saudi Arabia has also become the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. As bizarre and surreal as it sounds, this could also be a glimpse of the dark future ahead, where artificial intelligence might take over humans. Watch the video below, where the robot, Sophia, jokes about taking over human beings. Doesn’t sound like a joke to me at all.

However, it must be noted that it took decades for Dubai to develop itself into a tourist destination. The key to Dubai’s massive expansion over the years lies in its more tolerant environment for foreign investors and workers as compared to that in Saudi Arabia. Alcohol is allowed to foreigners, which is strictly banned in Saudi Arabia. UAE government has also allocated lands to build temples and churches and it might take some time for the Saudi government to develop that kind of tolerance.

Have a look at the vision 2030, Neom city of Saudi Arabia in the video below:


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