Hotel fires half its robot staff for sucking at their jobs
Bye bye, bots. Henn na Hotel in Japan laid off droids that annoyed customers by failing to perform simple tasks.
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Watch this: Robot Hotel lays off half of its robotic workforce
One guest complained that the virtual assistant robot Churi placed in every hotel room kept waking him up by saying, "Sorry, I couldn't catch that. Could you repeat your request?" because of the guest's snoring. Other guests complained on TripAdvisor that Churi would interrupt their conversations. Eventually, all Churi robots were removed from the rooms.
Churi wasn't the only robot to be dismissed. Humanoid concierge robots and animatronic dinosaur check-in robots that couldn't answer basic guest questions without human help were let go. (Reports of clunky lobby robot behavior were already surfacing back when the hotel first opened.) Broken robot dancers in the lobby were shown the door.
Bellhop robots were designed to carry luggage, but they could only move on flat surfaces and could only access a small number of rooms. Their hotel careers were also cut short.
"They were really slow and noisy, and would get stuck trying to go past each other," Taishi Mito, a previous guest, told the Wall Street Journal.
Firing half of the hotel robots might seem harsh, but at the end of the day a hotel needs to focus on the comfort of its guests more than the gimmick of robot employees.
"When you actually use robots you realize there are places where they aren't needed -- or just annoy people," Sawada told the Wall Street Journal.
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