Old Moore foresaw the rise of the Japanese robots

Let’s see how Old Moore’s Almanac fared with its predictions for July

Robot stories were in the news, as a Japanese hotel opened with a staff of 80 robots. Photograph: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Robot stories were in the news, as a Japanese hotel opened with a staff of 80 robots. Photograph: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

 

We’re more than halfway through the year, and there are a few patterns emerging with Old Moore’s predictions. He’s very fond of space, robots, celebrity pregnancies and obscure islands.

 

‘The Carteret Islands are abandoned’

Be honest: you’ve never heard of the Carteret Islands. Anyway, it’s actually a little difficult to find out if they were abandoned more than a year ago, or last month, or if a few families still live there, but being abandoned they are. These low-lying islands are located in the South Pacific, close to Papua New Guinea, and they have been slowly vanishing beneath the water for some years because of climate change. Islanders have been reluctantly relocated to Papua New Guinea.

 

‘Robot stories in the news’

If you sat down and thought for a year, it’s unlikely you would be able to dream up the robot story that made the news in July. The 72-room Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan, opened and its staff is composed of 80 robots. “Henn-na” means “weird” in Japanese, and this hotel is aptly named. You have a choice of whom you would like to check you in at reception, or rather, what you would like to check you in. There is a dinosaur robot along the lines of a T-Rex; a robot that looks like a robot; and another robot that looks like a woman. More “porter” robots will bring your luggage to your room. Once you are in your room, which does not have any switches, you talk to a robot in the shape of a plant and ask it to turn the lights on or off. There are plans for drones to deliver room service, although whether that will be via doors or windows is so far unclear. A room costs a bargain €80. I fully intend to stay at Hotel Henn-na some day.

I’m not done with the robot stories for July yet. The funniest video I have ever seen in my life shows four British robots training for the annual Robo Cup World Championships, which will be held in China later in the year.

The quartet of robots were training last month at the University of Hertfordshire. They find it hard to stand up, see the ball, or avoid being knocked over by another robot kicking the ball in their direction. They also kick each other from time to time, mistaking robot lower limbs for the big red orb that passes for a football. They’re about knee-high, and last year, these robots, which look like toddlers in a playground, were runners-up to Brazil. It’s all in the name of science, and incredibly entertaining it is too.

 

‘Football Championship is hosted by France in 2016. In the lead-up, there will be strikes and general chaos caused by those taking advantage of the global spotlight’

Well, it’s true that France will host the Uefa Euro 2016 football championship. And it’s also true that there have been strikes and utter chaos for much of July at Calais, although it’s highly unlikely that any of the migrants who are desperately trying to cross the Channel have football on their minds. First ferry workers went on strike by blocking access to the Eurotunnel, which caused massive traffic disruption on both sides of the Channel. Then, for three nights running, hundreds of migrants tried to enter the tunnel, escalating an already dreadful humanitarian crisis. There have been riots and deaths, and it is definitely not over yet.

 

‘A royal death’

Hello! magazine, that excellent source of all news connected with royalty, informs me that the 98-year-old grandfather of Queen Letizia of Spain died in July.

 

‘Stevie Wonder in the news’

And he was. Stevie Wonder performed at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in LA, which hosted 7,000 athletes from around the world, including a team of 88 from Ireland. Michelle Obama was there too, but in a non-singing role. Old Moore obviously knew in advance that the First Lady was not going to sing, otherwise he would have said she was going to be in the news too. Obviously.

 

WHAT’S TO COME: OLD MOORE’S PREDICTIONS FOR AUGUST

Ireland

  • Problem with a ferry. Big TV hit based in Ireland.
  • Rats in the news.
  • Sinéad O’Connor in the news again.

 

World

  • More exploration of the moon for mining potential.
  • Hotel in space. Trip to the outer atmosphere for tourists.
  • More probes on Mars. A probe arrives on Jupiter.
  • Agricultural robots start appearing on farms.
  • Breakthrough in treating Alzheimer’s.
  • Hillary Clinton will run but health hurdles may be a dampener.
  • Launch of Titanic II. It will have financial troubles from the start.
  • Many food outlets will give you the ability via apps to pre-order and have your item ready to pick up. This will become increasingly automated as service staff get laid off. Self-serve will be the order of the day.
  • Princess Eugenie or Beatrice or both pregnant.
  • Record heatwaves everywhere.
  • Waves, everywhere. Waves will be in the news all year.
  • Financial woes for Greece, Japan, Russia, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the US. Market will have corrections all round.
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