Japanese Hotel Fires Half Of Its Robot-Only Staff For ‘Not Being Human-Like’
By Sharelle Burt
The fascination with robots is clear in just about every industry, but not travel.
A hotel in Japan laid off 243 robots and the reason is pretty funny. They were fired for not being “more human-like.” The Henn-na Hotel made the Guinness Book of World Records back in 2015 as the first hotel to be fully robot-staffed.
Robots were being tested in the hospitality industry to see how they could fare with simple tasks like carrying luggage to guest rooms. However, it has been shown that robots don’t always save humans time and effort. In fact, at Henn-na, the robots were causing more trouble than what they were worth. Some robots were even freaking out the guests. Guests like JT Genter, who stayed at the hotel with his wife to give the establishment a proper review.
To check-in, Genter had to deal with a dinosaur robot and another robot that was scarily human-like. However, the robot only greeted them before asking the couple to scan their passports, which wasn’t too bad. It got weird when they got to their room. Genter said the in-room robot would often jump into their private conversations.
That’s really weird.
Those in-room robots have been removed. They were supposed to give information similar to Siri or Alexa, but guests said that they didn’t even have the answers to basic questions, like what time it was or when another establishment was supposed to open. “The robots at Henn-na Hotel were a bit of a disappointment. It felt gimmicky rather than legitimately robot-assisted, as it was sold,” Genter said. “Multiple robots weren’t even working during our stay and others seemed to require more human interaction than one would hope from a robot hotel.”
The Genters said they were surprised at the news that some were fired but when robot bellhops get stuck trying to walk by another and don’t even work if it was raining or snowing, its no surprise.