1. Enter Neom, $500 bn city Saudi Prince plans to build for ‘robots’: Fascinating details may floor you

Enter Neom, $500 bn city Saudi Prince plans to build for ‘robots’: Fascinating details may floor you

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning to build a $500 billion new city - Neom.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: October 27, 2017 5:24 PM
neom, neom city, what is neom, saudi arabia, saudi arabia crown prince, prince salman Visitors watch a 3D presentation during an exhibition on “Neom”, a new business and industrial city, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 25, 2017. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning to build a $500 billion new city. Proposed to be named as ‘Neom’ or ‘Neo-mustaqbal’, the city is to be developed on a sandy peninsula in northwest Saudi Arabia. Bigger than Dubai, the city would be built from the scratch and have more robots than humans – robots for everything. Every letter of Neom has a meaning – Neo (Latin for New), Entertainment, Mobility and Mustaqbal (Arabic for futuristic).

In an interview to Bloomberg, Salman said, “We want the main robot and the first robot in Neom to be Neom, robot number one…everything will have a link with artificial intelligence, with the Internet of Things — everything.”

Here are some fascinating details of the proposed Neom city, as told to Bloomberg by Prince Salman:

    • Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning to build a $500 billion new city. Proposed to be named as ‘Neom’ or ‘Neo-mustaqbal’, the city is to be developed on a sandy peninsula in northwest Saudi Arabia. Bigger than Dubai, the city would be built from the scratch and have more robots than humans – robots for everything. Every letter of Neom has a meaning – Neo (Latin for New), Entertainment, Mobility and Mustaqbal (Arabic for futuristic).
    • In an interview to Bloomberg, Salman said, “We want the main robot and the first robot in Neom to be Neom, robot number one…everything will have a link with artificial intelligence, with the Internet of Things — everything.”
    • Here are some fascinating details of the proposed Neom city, as told by Prince Salman:
    • The proposed city was initially named as Pulse. “Pulse was a name just for the documents. In order to go through the procedures, we needed to put something temporary. So we chose Pulse randomly. Then, recently, we were working on the final name. There were many ideas, and there was some disagreement. We didn’t want an Arabic name and we didn’t want a Latin name, or a name from any other language, because the project represents a civilizational leap for humanity,” Salman said, adding, “Neom, gives you the sense that this is a name of the future. You feel like Neom is a name from outer space.”
    • Planning for Project Neom started in 2015.
    • Neom will transform the entertainment sector, livability. “There are unbelievable chances in transportation, health, supply. For example, there won’t be one supermarket. Zero. Nobody will go and buy things for their home. Everything will come to your house using technology. Shopping will be entertainment, it won’t be shopping for shopping. The livability will have a lot of things, in health, in supply, in education, in transport, in green areas, in design — many things,” Salman said.
    • Every one in Neom will have a Neom app. “…nobody can live in Neom without the Neom application we’ll have — or visit Neom. So the first robot in Neom is Neom itself.”

  • Saudi Prince is talking with companies like Amazon for participating in the project.
  • People may start going to Neom in 2020. “They will find hotels, they will find places. 2020, 2021. But I think the city, the main project, it will be opened in 2025,” Salman said.
  • Before the full city comes to shape, Neom Bay will be set up. It will be the bay next to the city for offices and the places to start working on the site. “But when the city is completed, Neom Bay will be like the Hamptons in New York later on. So I think Neom Bay will be ready in 2021, we hope before that. Actually, the airport, it exists already.”
  • The Neom city already has an airport for its employees. By 2019, it is expected start receiving people. But it’s not the main Neom airport. The big Neom airport will be ready after 2020.
  • The laws of Neom will be within the framework of the Saudi law, like defense, national security, counter-terrorism and similar threats. Foreign policy. But the city will have separate commercial and other rules that will apply only to Neom.
  • Everyone living in Neom will be an investor in the city.
  • Regulations in Neom will be based on the needs of companies and the investors.
  • “… people will come there only for three reasons: if you are an investor, if you are employed in one of the projects if you are a tourist. If you’re not one of those three, you will not be in Neom.”
  • Saudi citizens will not be able to visit Neom and sleep on streets. Salman said, “If they go to Neom, they have to have a room in a hotel or they have a house or an apartment in Neom.”
  • Anyone visiting Neom will have to buy something, be both investor and a tourist at the same time.
  • Neom will be floated in the stock market as is the case with oil giant Saudi Aramco as a part of country’s effort to diversify away from oil.
  • The 26,500-square km zone of Neom that will also be extended to Egypt and Jordon.
  • Neom will be the first capitalist city in the world, says Salman.
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