THE RISE OF THE MACHINES ain’t happening today, if a Japanese robot hotel’s ‘firing’ of half its robot staff is anything to go by.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Japan’s Henn-na “Strange” Hotel, which sports a suite of robots to take care of its guests and automate various services, essentially laid off half of its 243-strong robot workforce as the bots ended up making more work for human staff as opposed to making their lives easier.
Robots who got the chop include a pair of velociraptor bots (yes, really) which sat on the hotel’s check-in area and were designed to help guests do just that, only humans were needed to photocopy passports as part of the check-in procedure, which basically rendered the robots redundant. Rather than being allowed to trot off to seek gainful employment elsewhere, the raptor bots were decommissioned and presumably sent the way of their prehistoric counterparts.
The hotel’s main concierge robot, somewhat ironically, lost its job to a human after it failed to properly answer questions about nearby tourist attractions and flight times.
And a pair or robotic luggage carriers were also given the heave-ho, as they were found to only be able to reach 24 of the hotel’s 100-plus rooms and also tended to get stuck when trying to pass by each other.
Other robots, such as the Chu-ri bot that would sit to the side of guests’ beds, were also removed from service, given they were found to have frequently failed to answer questions or get inadvertently activated due to a guest’s snoring.
Some robots have managed to keep their jobs, including one that’s basically a giant arm that plonks luggage in storage boxes.
But it would appear that fears about losing jobs to clever machines need not be as pressing a worry as some tech luminaries who enjoy sipping questionable beverage have been touting.
And in fairness to Japan, while the hotel’s robot workforce might be a tad lacklustre, the nation has a cafe that lets paralysed workers control robots and thus make a living, demonstrating that perhaps the future is an idyllic one of humans and machines playing nicely; that is if Brexit and Trump don’t ruin the planet first. µ
Source : Inquirer