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SYFY WIRE robots

Countless robots have been 'fired' by a Japanese hotel that is largely run by them

By Brian Silliman

One might think that robots would have some measure of job security, especially when they work in a robot hotel. It would seem that this is not the case — even in a robot hotel, robots, replicants, and androids can be "retired." 

According to The Verge, the Henn-na "Strange" Hotel in Japan has "laid off" half of the 243 robots that maintained the hotel because they created more problems than they ended up solving. In trying to substitute robots for human workers, the hotel ended up creating more work for humans. As advanced as the hotel's robot velociraptors that worked the check-in desk were, they couldn't figure out how to properly photocopy a passport. Nothing in the previous sentence was a joke. 

On the list for early retirement is Churi, a robot doll assistant that was placed in each room. Churi was meant to be a kind of Siri/Alexa hybrid, but proved incapable of answering any questions. Churi was brought in specifically to help with a "staff shortage" at the hotel, and ended up doing the exact opposite. 

The aforementioned check-in velociraptor robots were retired, because, according to the article, "human workers essentially had to do their jobs for them." Two robot luggage carriers were only able to get to 24 of the hotel's 100 rooms, they'd break down in harsh weather, and would get stuck in hallways while trying to pass each other. The main concierge robot of the hotel couldn't answer simple questions either, and has since been replaced by a human being who, presumably, can answer simple questions. 

The article describes many of the retired robots as being "outdated," and that they'd worked at the hotel for years. Instead of replacing a pair of robot velociraptors, countless Churis, and two bumbling luggage droids, the hotel realized that it was more cost effective to just get rid of them. 

This news may, at first, come as a welcome relief to any and all who fear a robot/A.I. uprising — if these bots can't run a hotel, how can they conquer the world? Consider this, however: Being fired is not a pleasant experience, and those fired often hold grudges against the ones that did the firing. For all we know, we now have 100 vengeful Churis, some very angry robotic luggagebots, and two robot velociraptors who may not know how to photocopy, but would certainly know how to mechanically bite someone. Robotic life could...ah...find a way.