Oscar Wilde’s Reading Prison to Get Shocking AI Makeover


  • Reading Gaol is set to become a museum and art-inspired hotel with AI technology.
  • Ziran Education Foundation plans to partner with a university and local council for research and community integration.
  • Public approval is needed before the ambitious project, featuring robots and cutting-edge solutions, can proceed.

The new owners of Reading Gaol (popularly known as Reading Prison) are planning to turn the long-vacant prison into a museum and an art-inspired hotel, using robots and AI technology. 

Reading Prison Has Been Vacant for a Decade

The prison, located in Berkshire, England, was reportedly acquired by Ziran Education Foundation, an educational charity owned by a Chinese billionaire, in January for £7 million (over $8.8 billion) after a previously failed attempt to turn the prison into an arts and community centre.

Reading Prison gained popularity for its famous inmate, Oscar Wilde, a renowned poet and playwright who reportedly served a sentence there in the 1890s. However, the prison has been vacant for over a decade after the last inmates were moved elsewhere in 2013.

The purchase of the prison by Ziran was initially met with mixed reactions, given its Chinese link. Some of the locals had hoped that the facility would be transformed into an arts and performance space amid its history – and Ziran appears to be keeping to that following its ambitious plans for the site. 

New Owners Plan to Revamp Reading Prison Using AI

A spokesperson for the foundation outlined a three-pronged approach for the project. The person said the foundation intends to collaborate with a renowned design firm to incorporate cutting-edge AI solutions, which could also see the creation of robots specifically designed for the new complex, potentially assisting with tasks in designated areas.

“[…] We’re exploring innovative solutions, including the integration of AI technology,” the spokesperson said. “Our aspiration is to create robots tailored to our unique requirements, complementing human efforts in select areas of the premises.”

Ziran also seeks to establish a strong partnership with the University of Reading for joint research initiatives, educational programs, or potential internship opportunities related to the museum and hotel operations. 

The foundation also plans to work closely with Reading Borough Council, with the spokesperson saying that open dialogue and seeking guidance from the council are crucial for the project’s smooth development and successful integration into the town’s existing infrastructure. 

Ziran’s proposed plans are still subject to approval. The foundation said it would work with the council’s planning department on its proposals and would also consult the public before and after an official application is submitted.

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Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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