If you had all the money in the world, what would you buy?
Perhaps you would indulge in a flashy car, or treat yourself to a Bahamian island.
That is just child’s play compared to the toys members of the United Arab Emirates’ royal family have invested in (no I’m not talking about Sheikh Hamad, also know as the “Rainbow Sheikh” who owns almost every vehicle imaginable including the world’s largest caravan…).
Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, one of the 19 sons of the founder of the UAE and an apparently avid chess player, decided to finance the Hydra Project, a chess machine so powerful it would dominate the computer chess world and “finally have an accepted victory over humans“.
The chess machine, designed by Dr Christian “Chrilly” Donninger, was financed by PAL Group, part of the group of companies under Royal Group, the UAE conglomerate chaired by Sheikh Tahnoon.
In 2005, “Hydra [was] widely considered to be the world’s strongest chess player,” according to a New Yorker article published at the time.
But all’s well that ends well and Hydra played its final game in June 2006. The sponsors decided to end the project, perhaps because Sheikh Tahnoon got bored of his toy.
He has some other fun investments up his sleeve, and none other than robots.[caption id="attachment_962" align="alignright" width="580"] Reem Robot, PAL Robotics[/caption]
PAL Robotics, an offshoot of Pal Group, has spent more than $50 million and three years developing the Reem robot in Barcelona. The “all-purpose” robot can work in a hospital, hotels, museums or airports, according to a report in The National newspaper.
The “humanoid service robot” will cost “several thousand dollars” though the company says it hopes to reduce the price to make it more competitive.
It sounds like a recycled invention from Japan, but in a world where million dollar traders are being replaced with machines at international investment banks, anything is possible.