Hotel Robots Get the Pink Slip

Date Entry
January 15, 2019

In a humorous twist, this week it's the robots that have lost their jobs to humans.  The Henn-na Hotel in Japan was opened with bright hopes of a fully robotic operation, but was recently forced to shelve half of its 243 robots.

Among the layoffs:

  • In-room assistants that were unable to provide answers to guest questions
  • Velociraptor passport-copying robots that were unable to photocopy passports
  • Luggage carrier robots that couldn't reach all the rooms, manage inclement weather, or pass each other without getting stuck
  • A concierge robot that was not able to provide suitable responses to inquiries

Many of these robots had been in service for years and were outdated - their jobs have since been reassigned to humans.  Their decommissioning comes as no surprise given the speed at which technology advances.  Plus, with very little economies of scale the cost of upkeep and upgrades for bespoke robots can be prohibitive for businesses.  Fortunately, humans are a bit more flexible in that regard.

While a fully robotic business is a shiny, exciting venture, perhaps we're not quite ready for it.

This article was based on a January 15, 2019 The Verge article by Shannon Liao.

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