There are not many reasons to visit the middle of the desert. But Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince is hoping to change that by building a $500 billion city smack dab in the middle of nowhere.
Dubbed Neom, a combination of the Greek word neos ("new) and the Arabic word mustaqbal ("future"), the Massachusetts-sized city is set to include many over-the-top and futuristic details. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman had plans drawn up for the ambitious project that will feature things like artificial clouds to create rain and robots as maids to complete housework. The beach is even supposed to have glow-in-the-dark sand.
And that's not all. Also revealed in the plans was the royal's hope to have flying taxis, an artificial moon, the "leading education system on the planet" thanks to holographic teachers, a Jurassic Park island with robotic dinosaurs, and the "highest rate of Michelin-starred restaurants per inhabitant." Of course, security will be paramount as well. Drones, security cameras, and facial recognition technology will all be used as part of a high-tech surveillance system to track every citizen continuously.
Bin Salman first announced the project in October 2017 saying Neom will "be a place for the dreamers for the world." Now, three consultancy firms— Boston Consulting, McKinsey & Co, and Oliver Wyman—have been hired to make these wild dreams a reality and there is a Chief Executive, Nadhmi al Nasr, heading up the project.
"Neom is all about things that are necessarily future-oriented and visionary," Nasr told the Journal. "So we are talking about technology that is cutting edge and beyond—and in some cases still in development and may be theoretical."
Ultimately, the idea is a grand one, and former employees of Neom have doubts about getting funding and technological capabilities.