A weird robot hotel staffed almost entirely by non-humans, has opened its doors to the Japanese public and bemused tourists alike, at a theme park based in Sasebo, Nagasaki.
The Henn-na Hotel (which is Japanese for weird hotel), is situated at the 380-acre Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch Themed amusement park, of all things, festooned with tulips and early European brick architecture, weird indeed, however the madness escalates to unprecedented heights as soon as you enter the lobby and attempt to check in.
If your grip on reality hasn’t already been completely eroded by the surreal surroundings, the sight of the Japanese speaking robot receptionist and her English translating sidekick, a robotic dinosaur covered in tiger fur and sporting a Burberry bow tie, will probably tip you over the edge.
Strange Robots but Smart Technology
When you have come to your senses and realised you have not stumbled onto the set of Humans, the new robot TV series from Channel 4 and AMC, you will be seriously impressed by the ‘smart hotel technology’ that the Henn-na has placed at your disposal.
Hotel keys for example, have been rendered obsolete thanks to an impressive facial recognition system, which only unlocks hotel room doors for the specified guest and approved personnel.The robots it would appear are not yet capable of making the beds.
Once inside the minimal but tasteful, typically Japanese interior, the high tech gadgetry is not immediately apparent. However, the room temperature and lighting are fully automated and can be voice controlled simply by having a word with Churi-chan, a pint sized personal assistant who is a feature in every one of the 72 hotel rooms. The diminutive automaton will also advise about the weather and wake you with an alarm call if required.
The Weird Robot Staff at the Henn-na Hotel
All in all, the Henn-na Hotel boasts four human like robots who can converse fluently in Japanese, Korean and English, seventy two personal assistant bots, four porter drones, a robotic cloakroom assistant and several room cleaning robots, not forgetting the crazy robot dinosaur on reception.
Theme Park founder and hotel entrepreneur Hideo Sawada, told reporters that the robot theme was not designed as a gimmick to court publicity for the Henn-na but was a genuine attempt to reduce the day to day expenses involved in running a hotel.
Mr. Sawada is quoted as saying that “he wanted to show how establishments could improve efficiency and lower labour costs.”
It is becoming more and more apparent that the future robot uprising won’t be fought on the battlefield as portrayed in movies such as the Matrix, Terminator and iRobot but rather on the shop floor, as our future robot overlords undermine humanity’s already fragile economy and plunge millions, if not billions of people into unemployment, poverty and eventual obsolescence.