If you work in hospitality and are concerned that your job may be replaced by artificial intelligence any time soon, there is no reason to panic.
A Japanese hotel has ‘fired’ over half of its 243 robots from working at the Hen-na (“Strange”) Hotel due to being an inconvenience, rather than providing any benefit to guests.
The hotel based in Nagasaki used the androids to check-in guests, answer any queries and take luggage to guest rooms. There’s even a bot called Chu-ri in each hotel room for turning off the lights, setting alarms and providing weather forecasts.
Describing a guest’s stay at the hotel, the website states:
At the front desk, you will be greeted by multi-lingual robots that will help you check in or check out. At the cloakroom, the robotic arm will store your luggage for you.
Mechanic yet somehow human, those fun moments with the robots will warm your heart.
Furthermore, once you register your face with our face recognition system, you will be free from the hassle of carrying the room key around or worrying about losing it.
On paper, this kind of Android utopia sounds like bliss. But it’s been anything but for those customers staying at the hotel. Receptionists are still needed to answer most queries on the reception desk and the Chu-ri bots regularly break down.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Yoshihisa Ishikawa’s snoring was regularly triggering the robot to wake up and start talking to him in the middle of the night.
When the hotel first opened in 2015, it received worldwide attention as a glimpse into what the future could look like. Technology has moved so fast that the hotel staff are now outdated and too expensive to fix when broken.
It isn’t clear if the hotel is planning on restocking its robot population just yet, but at least guests will be able to sleep without malfunctioning robots in the same room!
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.