With Robot Bellhops, Tipping Takes on a Whole New Meaning

You have likely seen the news that Starwood will be introducing a robotic bellhop at its Aloft hotel in Cupertino, across from Apple headquarters.

On Milepoint, travelers are discussing this advancement in hotel bellhop technology.

My top 3 most interesting/surprising items about this story and discussion:

1. At the time of this writing there are zero references to SkyNet in the thread.

2. From the NY Times article: “A flat panel display at the top of the robot is used for the guest to enter a “review” rather than giving a tip. In return for a positive review, the robot will do a small dance before it departs.” – how frickin’ cute is that.

3. blackjack-21’s musings on tipping as it concerns a robotic bellhop:

How do you figure the tip to a robotic bellman? What happens if the robotic isn’t satisfied with the tip given? … Or do you just tip the robot over on it’s side so it can’t run off with your now-probably-damaged suitcase.

My how times change. In my generation alone we have progressed from cow tipping to robot tipping.

What’s next – robotic cow tipping?

Makes you wonder about the possibilities of a protest movement by those who aren’t in favor of robots replacing humans. Unless the robot’s designers are able to design a robot that can get back up if tipped over, it will be pretty easy to sabotage this effort at automation.

What do you think? Would you prefer a robot who does a little dance if you tell it you like it over a human with his/her hand held out?

Read the thread in its entirety: Robots as bellhop?

Image: “Nao humanoid robot at the Georgia Robotics and Intelligent Systems (GRITS) Lab, Georgia Tech” by Jiuguang Wang. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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