Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman announced the launch of his largest project “the city of Neom” for human dreamers in all the world, and said that the city will be built from scratch on the sands of the desert and the coasts of the North West of Saudi Arabia.
According to the Business, reports spoke about unprecedented programs to collect data for all future residents on that city, which raised serious concerns for many.
MBS said that his new city in the heart of nature, will be managed via artificial intelligence, and wealth fund of Saudi Arabia will finance all the city projects, along with the new investors.
The initial conceptualization of the city had a visualization of flying taxis, as well as holographic landmarks, and a satellite for the city.
In January this year, the NEOM project management announced the launch of “The Line” project, which is an extended series of residential complexes, with a wide transportation network extending underground.
In an interview with Zednet, the head of the Technical and Digital Sciences in the NEOM city project, Joseph Bradley, said that the NEOM administration is working hard to collect the equivalent of 90% in the available data related to the population and the targeted smart infrastructure in the city, which raised eyebrows. He added that all current cities do not target more than 1% of that data targeted by NEOM.
In the same context, the press office of the NEOM project refused to comment on the statements made by Joseph Bradley, and the “Business Insider” commented on Joseph’s statements saying that it is an insight into how NEOM works.
It is worth noting that modern and current smart cities use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to carry out security and personal protection measures for individuals, such as alerting people when their buses are approaching, or to prevent wasting water, as happens in the city of Songdo in South Korea, for example, but what is happening in the Neom city project and what its administration is targeting is beyond compare to the new cities of the world.
Joseph also said that the data collection will be done through a modern operating system called Neos. Each resident will have a unique identification number and the Neos operating system will process the data through heart rate monitors, phones, and recognition cameras, faces, bank details, and IoT devices around the new city.
Although this process is a pre-emptive step for NEOM, there are some who still fear it, considering it a severe digital intrusion, which is what the authorities feared. A journalist report showed that this situation heralds the bad living conditions in the city of Neom, which is supposed to attract technology lovers.
To avoid this fear that could threaten investment in the modern city, Joseph said that residents will have the option to choose the amount of personal data they send to Neos.
He also said that “the individual’s right to privacy is guaranteed, but the ability to use this information is directly linked to the services they receive.”
The question remains; why is NEOM administration is trying to collect all this data about those who wish to reside in it in the future?
Read More: A failed attempt to deceive the world: How did NEOM’s lies sink the desert sands?