Technology giant Toshiba has recently created robots that they hope will be able to run and maintain hotels in the near future. Toshiba’s robot goes by the name of ChihiraKanae, and was first unveiled in Berlin. She speaks 19 languages and can engage in simple conversation with the hotels guests. This is not the first time robots have been used within the hospitality industry, with many being used as receptionists and concierge, as well as the cruise line Royal Caribbean installing robots as bartenders on many of their ships over the past year. These robots decrease costs, while also increasing efficiency in many areas. With this increase in knowledge and availability of robots, experts believe that the number of robotic service workers will increase dramatically throughout the next couple years. Despite the fact that this is a very interesting concept, I believe there may be many issues if robots become a commonality within the hospitality industry.
The benefit of employing robots is that they can be programmed to be able to interact with a wide range of nationalities. The robots mentioned within this article are able to speak up to 19 different languages, which is many more then the average human. However, if the robots shut down due to a technological problem, causing many issues within the hotel. Companies have to analyze the risk of investing in expensive new technology, and determine if they will be able to manage under any technological disruptions.
One of the signs of a well-respected hotel is the level of human interaction and personality, which may suffer through the use of robots. Visitors want to feel at home and safe when staying at a hotel, and human interaction is usually a good indicator of the rating of a hotel. Research has shown that over two thirds of people would feel safe under the supervision of robots, however I feel as if people would be weary to stay in a new city when their hotel is staffed only by automated machines.. Also, the inventors have worked hard to increase the realistic aspects of their robots, increasing its ability to move and interact with other humans. The more realistic aspects of these robots the better, but I still struggle to believe that people would be willing to pay hefty hotel prices if their experience is managed only by robots.
The most important aspect of robotic workers to analyze is the effect they would have on employment rates. In an article written by Martin Ford, he explains that robots are becoming more advanced, and can perform human tasks very efficiently. In the hotel industry, this puts support staff at risk of losing their jobs. Receptionists, cleaning staff, as well as cook and wait staff may soon be replaced with high tech machines. Although this technology is impressive and interesting, I believe it is more important for the economy to continue employing human individuals, and use robots only when completely necessary.
Ford, Martin. "Rise of the Machines: The Future Has Lots of Robots, Few Jobs for Humans." Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
Neild, Barry. "Why Your next Hotel Will Be Staffed by Robots." CNN. Cable News Network, 23 Mar. 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.