Which are the regions of the world which invest the most in innovation? From California’s Silicon Valley, to the dream of nuclear energy in southern France, or Neom, the city of tomorrow in Saudi Arabia, here’s a world tour of the tech hubs that are imagining the society of tomorrow.
ITER, Clean Nuclear Energy
Is it possible to build a star? It’s what 35 countries are trying to finance in the south of France, a few kilometers from Aix-en-Provence. Since 2007, they’ve financed the construction of the ITER, the world’s biggest reactor, with the goal of re-producing nuclear fusion, the same which takes place in our sun.
In comparison with the energy produced in traditional fission reactors, fusion technology will be clean and without waste.
Neom: The new world begins in Saudi Arabia
Announced with great pomp by the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the city of Neom wants itself to be the point of innovation, and the first in the world to be totally run on clean energy. It’s cost: $500 billion, as envisioned in their Vision 2030 program. It should rise from the desert sands by 2050.
The bet on Neom will be whether everything can function solely on renewable energies. How will they make sure it works? It will rely on immense solar panel fields, as well as substantial wind farms. The site has been picked after a long and arduous study, and guarantees to have strong sun and winds.
The economy of the city will largely turn on innovation; with nanotech, robotics, and biotech, Neom wants to place itself at the forefront of research and technology. Hyperconnected, the city will be criss-crossed by taxi drones, and autonomous public cars and transports.
Tesla Factory, the Californian Myth
In the words of Elon Musk, “When something is important and all luck is against you, do it anyways.” As the founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, this canadian with South Africa origins embodies all the ambitions and the californian dreams to innovate without limits.
With SpaceX, he has advanced research in space exploration. His Falcon 1 rocket is the first private project to reach terrestrial orbit. It’s objective? To travel to Mars and organize space travel.
Also in California – where else? – he has developed the car of the future at Tesla Factory. It’s in the middle of the Nevada desert, outside of Reno, where one finds the Gigafactory of Tesla, where they produce lithium-ion batteries. The existing structures already cover a total area of over 176,000 m2, with more than 455,000m2 of operational installations spread out among different floors. And the kicker: the factory is only 30% complete.
CERN, the Swiss Particle Accelerator
Founded in 1954, CERN is one of the biggest scientific labs in the world. Its goal? To discover the fundamental particles and laws of the universe. It uses complex scientific instruments to probe the ultimate constituents of matter: fundamental particles.
While studying what happens when these particles collide, the physicians learn the laws of nature. The instruments which are used in CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. The accelerators carry particle beams at speeds approaching the speed of light, and collide them into other particles and structures to learn of their internal makeup.