In some movies, we often see amazing high-tech cities controlled by robots or flying cars zooming on the skies. But it looks like our current technology is still ways too early for that.
The world’s first robot hotel, the Henn-na Hotel in Japan, had to remove half of its android staff because their services were very ineffective. The robots often malfunction and can’t respond properly to several commands.
Introducing the ‘Weird Hotel’
Henn-na Hotel translates literally as ‘weird hotel.’ It was opened in 2015 and was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the first all-robot hotel in the world.
It boasted the use‘state-of-the-art’AI technology which according to the hotel “aims of maximizing efficiency, also add to the fun and comfort of your stay.”
The reception desk is operated by multilingual female robots. There are robots to clean and mix drinks. Your luggage will be carried by robot concierges. If you have something you need at night, there is a voice-activated robot doll available in the room. The hotel even has a robotic clinic which offers dental, dermatology and general medical services.
The hotel started with 80 robots and later, it grew to more than 200. However, problems soon started cropping out as the robots cannot work as well as humans.
A Lot of Problems
There are so many problems with the robots in the hotel that made its clients very frustrated and annoyed. Among all of these lumps of metals, the most notorious was the room-assistant Churi, who was already axed from the hotel. The robot cannot respond to slightly complicated commands. It can only accommodate basic conversations or adjust the heat and light in the room.
A client who stayed at the hotel said he was frustrated with Churi that decided to call the hotel reception. However, he couldn’t find any phone in the room because he was supposed to use the robot. He had to use his mobile phone so he can talk to a human.
Another client was woken up repeatedly by the same robot while he was sleeping which says “Sorry, I couldn’t catch that. Could you repeat your request?” It turns out his snoring sound was mistaken as conversation, which triggered the AI to respond.
The robot receptionists were replaced by Velociraptor robots because they cannot do things like looking for flight schedules. Still, there are humans that had to help assist customers at the front desk.
There are also other issues like the robot dancers. Clients say half of them were not working during their stay. On the other hand, the robot luggage carriers aren’t very useful because they can only go on flat surfaces and can only reach 24 of the 100 rooms. They are also not very durable. The robots break down when they get wet.
Technology is supposed to make people’s life easier. But instead of helping, the robots created even more work for the human staffs of the hotel. The staff had to work overnight for the repair of robots that stopped working. They also had to deal with a lot of complaints from guests.
“It’s easier now that we’re not being frequently called by guests to help with problems with the robots,” one staff member of the hotel said.
Hideo Sawada, president of the company which owned the hotel admitted that robots need to be improved. “When you actually use robots you realize there are places where they aren’t needed – or just annoy people,” he said to the Wall Street Journal. However, he added that the company will not be giving up their futuristic concept