Robot cage fights and flying taxis: leaked documents reveal Saudi Arabia’s plans for its next megacity

SAUDI-ECONOMY-INVESTMENT-FAIR

A Saudi man chatting with a robot at an investment event in 2017. | Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

The riches of Silicon Valley have enabled some extravagant and quixotic projects, but they’ve got nothing on what oil money can do.

A new report from The Wall Street Journal shares some of the proposals for Saudi Arabia’s biggest megaproject yet: a city built in the desert named Neom, where robots will outnumber humans and hologram teachers will educate genetically-enhanced students.

The details are stunning. It’s a mixture of dystopian fiction (AI surveillance cameras everywhere!) and childish imaginings (let’s build a robot dinosaur park!). Taken together, the plans remind of you what a dedicated nine-year-old can achieve in Minecraft. Yes, the scale and ambition are impressive, but it’s not like you could do this in real life,…

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