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Robots have fun in the park but can they do push-ups?

8th April 2016
Joe Bush

Steve Rogerson looks at some of the recent news that may have missed the front page. I didn’t have far to go for Medicity Innovators’ Week, a medical technology event in Nottingham. However, it didn’t get off to the best start as they announced at the beginning that one of the keynote speakers had cancelled due to ill health. 

Given the number of medical professionals in the audience, I couldn’t help wonder whether he might have been better off coming.

One thing I was waiting for was the first pun connecting small personal computers and pills, and it didn’t take long as opening speaker Mike Short from Telefonica couldn’t resist the temptation. Yes, he really said, “Keep on taking the tablets.”

There was a device in the exhibition area for measuring push-ups. Out of fear I wouldn’t even be able to manage one, I declined the invitation to try it out but was rather shocked when told everyone should be able to do forty a day. Forty! Give me a break, I am finding it hard enough to manage the recommended 10,000 steps a day, as that addictive app on my iPhone keeps reminding me.

Talking of Nottingham, the city was adorned last month with adverts for the Love Parks conference. What’s a ‘love park’ I wondered, imagining frolics in the foliage, but it turned out the word ‘love’ was a verb not an adjective and it was just for, well, people who are into parks generally. However, then again, football in the park is probably more fun, as a survey by car maker Nissan found out. Apparently, Brits get more excited watching football than we do having sex.

A press release that made me sit up was headlined, ‘Travellers expect robots on their holidays by 2020.’ I had great visions of C3P0 serving me a beer while I lounge on a sunbed. And, according to Travelzoo, that is sort of the plan, though initially they are more likely to be standing behind the reception desk telling you they can’t find your booking - Toshiba already has one doing that in a hotel. However, there is obviously a flipside to this, and that is that jobs could go in the travel industry as a result, and Dan Cobley, former Managing Director of Google, plans to raise that very issue in his keynote at a conference in Dublin next month. Rumour has it that the Toshiba robot is set-up to do the speech in his place if he can’t make it. A shame it wasn’t available for the Medicity conference.

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