A giant Pacific octopus named Rabio caught off the coast of Obira, Japan, last month became something of a national sensation when its snack selections ‘predicted’ Japan’s 2018 World Cup victories.
Now the fisherman who found the celebrated cephalopod has declared Rabio’s fifteen minutes of fame is up and given him the chop. Literally.
For some reason, humans love to outsource their gambling decisions to animals. Probably because when it comes to blindly making a random prediction, it’s not like they can do any worse.
A cat in Russia named Achilles recently declared Russia will be the World Cup victors. It’s already wisely earned its keep as oracle by chowing down from a bowl marked with the Russian flag prior to a match with Saudi Arabia.
Then there was Paul, a common octopus at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, who earned a reputation for divining a dozen matches for World Cup 2010 and Euro 2008.
His success rate was admittedly pretty good – around 85 percent.
But even he lived to a ripe old age of two and a half, to die of natural causes.
Rabio’s relatively small record was unblemished, picking morsels of food from the ‘Japan will win’ basket in the match against Colombia, the ‘draw’ basket when faced with Senegal, and the ‘loss’ selection for Poland.
Sadly, it wasn’t like Rabio was given much of a chance to really shine.
Given a chance, he could have brought fisherman Kimio Abe a fortune by foreseeing the winners of not just football matches, but horse races, boxing matches, and even upcoming hands of blackjack.
Octopuses are remarkably intelligent problem solvers, after all, with big brains and smaller nodes of neural processors in each arm.
Alas, a smart octopus would know gambling is a fool’s game. After all, it’s not like anybody has seen a casino in Octlantis.
Clearly Abe also knows a little something about how survivor bias works, and how nobody writes front page articles about animals that randomly pick from the wrong bowl.
A business man first, Abe sold Rabio to a food market before he got too old and then quickly replaced him with Rabio Jr.
“I hope that the second Rabio will also give all the outcomes correctly and that Japan will go all the way,” Abe told Sora News 24 several days ago.
Rabio Jr predicted Japan would win over Belgium on July 3.
We have our own prediction, and the future doesn’t look so good for Rabio Jr.