“They took our jobs!” — robots said, angry at the humans.
When the Henn-na Hotel opened in Japan, it strived to be a state-of-the-art venue, maximizing efficiency with the aid of robot helpers which could speak fluent Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English. The robots were able to check in guests, carry bags, make coffee, clean rooms, and deliver laundry.
“In the future, we’d like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots,” said president Hideo Sawada of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park where hotel was opened.
However, things did not go according to Mister Sawada’s plans, and the management has now been forced to retire most of its helper robots. The reason? They just weren’t efficient.
Churi, the doll-shaped assistant present in every hotel room, couldn’t answer questions as well as Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant — which are readily available. Churi was also reportedly confused by a guest’s snoring, waking him up trying by repeating “Sorry, I couldn’t catch that. Could you repeat your request?” Churi would also jump into conversations, annoying guests.
The main concierge robot was also unable to answer questions satisfactorily and needed help from a human very often.
Two velociraptor robots which checked guests in were fired because they couldn’t photocopy guests’ IDs, which was an essential requirement. The robots were also supposed to help people carry their baggage, but they were only able to move on flat surfaces which meant they could only access some of the rooms.
All in all, the Japanese robots were fired because they sucked at their job. So what does this mean for the robot revolution?
There are still plenty of jobs which have been taken by robots and are never coming back — and potentially even more will be taken in the future. But there’s also a lot of unwarranted hype when it comes to robot jobs, and it doesn’t always work out for the best, as was the case here.
There are still plenty of jobs around where human input is necessary or even irreplaceable. For now, at least.