The world’s first automated robot-staffed hotel was opened in Japan this year in July. The robots perform ninety percent of the jobs such as greeting people and working as the counter workers and the maids. The tremendous technological advances that took place during the construction of the 5-Star Japanese Henn-na hotel, made it possible to replace most human workers with the robots. The investigation by the Japanese Government found no violations of applicable laws but the costs to the society such as job losses are evident. There is also a fear the robots may become too powerful to eventually dominate the humans. According to Nikkei, more than a thousand robot-staffed hotels will be built around the world and trends like these will significantly impact the society, mostly in a negative way.
Hideo Sawada, the hotel’s owner, argues he is not trying to cause panic but simply trying to lower the operating costs. The single-day expense at the hotel is approximately $80, which is lower than similar hotels in Japan. The hotel still needs human workers for certain functions such as the security that involves live CCTV monitoring of the hotel premises.
The robots are the products of the company named Kokoro (Actroid). The robots have been developed to be quite human-like in appearance. The company has been in the business since 2003, and its robots are capable of facial expressions, communication, and emulating human behaviors. The Kokoro robots serve in a wide range of businesses including the banks and the robot-themed restaurants.
I am highly concerned by the human impact of the robotic evolution. The robotic revolution would only increase unemployment and make it harder for people to provide for their families. The robots may also impose other costs on the society, not all of which can be predicted with certainty now. Lack of jobs will not only lower individual morale but the sedentary lifestyle will also result in health costs. The robotic technology may advance to such an extent that the robots could enslave humans. It is also possible criminal elements such as the gangs may hack robots for their nefarious purposes such as heists.
The technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, and I am concerned there may come a time when no one will have to work. I hope the society will take measures to prevent such a dark scenario. Even Bill Gates has expressed concerns about the potential negative implications of advanced robots. Gates claimed he shares Elon Musk’s concerns and expressed his puzzle at the fact many people are not concerned about the potential costs of robotic revolution and artificial intelligence (AI). We should approach the robotic revolution with caution because Musk fears the dangers may emerge as soon as five years. It is important to remind us many things can go wrong such as widespread unemployment and declining workplace safety because robots do not have many needs that are unique to humans such as the safe working environment, food, sleep, and income. Moreover, the robots also lack complex human behaviors such as emotions.
I end my case by urging companies not to replace human workers with robots. I also call for cautious approach to robot developments because they may threaten the society’s order and may even end up enslaving humans. Even visionaries such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk also share my concerns and have called for careful development of robotic technologies and AI.
- AFP RELAXNEWS. (2015, July 20). Japan opens hotel run entirely by robots. Retrieved December 14, 2015. Web.
- Alford, J. (2015, February 9). World’s First Robot-Run Hotel Due To Open In Japan This July. Retrieved December 14, 2015. Web.
- Kageyama, Y. (2015, July 15). Robots Run This Japanese Hotel To Cut Labor Costs. Retrieved December 14, 2015. Web.
- O’Callaghan, J. (2015, January 29). Bill Gates says we SHOULD fear a robot uprising: Microsoft co-founder says he ‘agrees with Elon Musk’ on dangers of AI. Retrieved December 14, 2015. Web