Japanese Hotel Dismisses Half Robot Staff for Breach of Contract
A Japanese hotel that has been almost entirely run by nearly five hundred robots since its opening in 2015 has decided to ‘fire’ half of the staff with artificial intelligence.
The Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki wants to get rid of the androids because of annoying disturbances and because more and more people are needed to fix them.
According to Japanese media, approximately 120 of the 243 robots, sometimes looking like humans, are put on hold in the short term. The Henn-na Hotel became world news four years ago because of its ultramodern design.
It took the Guinness Record Book as the first hotel in the world with robots as employees. After the opening, the hotel ran so well that seven branches were soon opened elsewhere in Japan.
Up to the present day, some eighty robots have been deployed per hotel for, among other things, the transport of luggage, registration procedures at the counter, the making of beds, vacuuming and in the restaurant.
Although the remarkable hotels are still fully booked and therefore a resounding success, there is still a thorough reorganization, as the hotel management has stated in a statement. One of the reasons: there were more complaints from guests.
For example, in every room, there was a robotic assistant who could respond to questions. In practice, the androids also came into action when guests snored. They kept asking what was going on when guests called the automated lobby with complaints.
These were then almost never solved because the robots there did not understand many questions. The result: more and more human personnel were needed to manage everything.
Other malfunction: the best-wide, moving robots that had to take the cases to rooms, often got stuck in the narrow corridors. As a result, large parts of the hotel were regularly blocked. At those times, people were needed to get things going again.
Furthermore, face recognition, which served as a room key, often did not work and there were defects in all kinds of automated systems such as the opening and closing of curtains and plumbing that responded to voice commands.
The management of the chain has already acknowledged that the use of robots in hotels is more of a burden than a help. The laid-off robots will be dismantled in an environmentally friendly manner or dumped in the waste container. The talking dinosaurs that welcome the hotel guests remain active. All human employees also keep their jobs.