Humans 1, Robots 0

Robots 'laid off' by Japanese hotel

Humans 1, Robots 0
A robot barista called "Sawyer" makes a coffee during its demonstration at "Henn na Cafe" (meaning "Strange Cafe" in Japanese) in Tokyo, on Jan. 30, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

SASEBO, JAPAN — The world’s first robot hotel has decided humans, for the most part, make the most sense when it comes to staffing.

Japan’s Henn na or “Strange” Hotel opened to much publicity in 2015 but has since “laid off” half of its 243 androids, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“It’s easier now that we’re not being frequently called by guests to help with problems with the robots,” said one staff member.

One guest, for example, kept being woken by a doll-shaped “assistant” in his room because it mistook his snores for queries.

And there were no phones in the rooms because “Churi” was meant to answer all questions from guests.

The same was true for concierge robots who could not answer many of the guests’ questions.

And two robot luggage carriers are no longer being used because they could only reach two dozen of the more than 100 rooms.

“They were really slow and noisy, and would get stuck trying to go past each other,” said guest Taishi Mito.

However, a mechanical arm that moves luggage in and out of storage boxes is still being used.

And Hideo Sawada, president of the travel company that owns the hotel, said he has learned some valuable lessons: “When you actually use robots, you realize there are places where they aren’t needed — or just annoy people.”

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