Oh Japan, that noble bastion of racing headlong into the future, no matter how weird it might be.  While the rest of the world secretly frets about eventually being displaced by robots, the Japanese not only take it in stride, but make it look stylish.  Example #9,217:  a robotically-staffed hotel.

There's a lot less chrome and claws than we imagined.
(Image courtesy

According to, the new Henn-na Hotel in Japan will "employ" a staff comprised almost entirely of robots.  The Henn-na, whose name means "strange", is indeed pushing things closer to the Uncanny Valley.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by "actroids" - humanoid receptionist robots that are designed to mimic the welcoming feel of a real person greeting you into your new temporary abode.  Robot porters will then handle your luggage, spiriting it to a room as technically-facilitated as one would expect from such an experience.

They will be programmed with approximately 1,000 polite phrases
to shut down guests who hit on them.
Because you know it's going to happen.
(Image courtesy

Facial-recognition technology serves as your room key.  In-room tablets control various functions, and radiation panels alter the temperature to your comfort after assessing your body heat.  A staff of robots will clean and perform manual labor, so you never have to worry about the maid stealing your nice earrings or fancy watch from the nightstand.

Located in Japan's Huis Ten Bosch amusement park, the Henn-na has got 72 rooms available as of today.  72 more rooms will be available starting in 2016.  The Henn-na's motto, "A commitment to evolution", is no joke:  90% of the hotel will be run robotically.

Best of all, the lack of human lackeys to pay means that the rates are closer to something of the past than of the future.  At peak season, rooms will be auctioned to the highest bidder, with a cap of around $150 for triple rooms and $60 for singles.  Now that's the kind of future we can relax in.

We will not be surprised if that cool-looking couch also transforms into a spaceship.
(Image courtesy

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