If you are concerned about losing your job in hospitality to artificial intelligence soon, there is no need to worry.
A hotel in Nagasaki, Japan called the Hen-na (“Strange”) Hotel ‘fired’ more than 50% of the 243 robots working there because instead of providing benefits to guests, they turned out to be quite inconvenient.
The hotel used robots to check-in guests, take luggage to rooms and answer queries. There is even a robot in each room called Chu-ri who helps turn off lights, set alarms and provide weather forecasts.
Describing the experience of a guest at the hotel, their website says that you will be greeted at the front desk by multi-lingual robots who will help check you in or out. In the cloakroom, a robotic arm will take your luggage and store it.
These fun moments are a mix of human and robotic, and they will definitely warm your heart.
Also, as soon as you register your face with their facial recognition system, the struggle of carrying a room key around and worrying about losing it is completely gone.
This type of Android paradise sounds blissful on paper. But the experience of the guests staying at the hotel is quite the opposite. Most of the time, they still need receptionists to answer questions at the front desk and the Chu-ri robots break down regularly.
The Wall Street Journal says that Yoshihisa Ishikawa’s robot regularly talked to him in the middle of the night because it was triggered by his snoring.
This hotel received attention worldwide in 2015 when it was first opened. It was a glimpse of what the future could possibly look like. Now, technology has advanced to a point where the hotel ‘staff’ are outdated and cost too much to repair when they are broken.
For now, it is unclear whether the hotel plans to restock its robotic population, but at least the guests can sleep through the night without malfunctioning robots in their rooms.