CULTURE Hundreds of robot servants sacked in Japan


Hundreds of robot servants sacked in Japan

By Shan Xin | People's Daily app

13:45, January 17, 2019

(Photos: Aflo / Splash New)

A total of 243 robots have lost their jobs after the world’s first robot hotel, the Henna-na Hotel in Japan, found their bizarre “employees” downright annoying and broke down too often, pushing the robots onto the unemployment rolls just like human beings.

The Hena-na Hotel - translated as Strange in Japanese - started operation in 2015 and has attracted attention as the first all-robot hotel in the world acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records. Devices of different models and forms served as administrators, cleaners, porters and assistants.  

However, some of the problems stemmed from creative ideas that didn’t pan out, and complaints and problems came soon after. For example, the two robot velociraptors at the reception could not make copies of passports and other documents, and the small robot assistants in each room kept waking guests’ up with the phrases “How can I help you” after mistaking their snoring for requests.

Besides, according to the Wall Street Journal, the question-answering robot Churi failed to cope with the simplest requests - like any questions about the area or other attractions. Meanwhile, the hotel management was so confident in the robots’ abilities that they didn’t equip rooms with phones, which annoyed rather than delighted the guests as they had to deal with the robots.

The administration of Henn-na Hotel explained that the matter is also part of the rapid development of technology. According to the WSJ, the hotel will not abandon the concept of automation and is planning more robotic tech that’s more similar to the current advances like facial recognition door locks. At least they have recognized that for the time being, the complex still needs people. With the dismissal comes a blow not just to a robotic dream of an automated world, but to Japan’s pop-culture image as a leader in robotics. 

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