Robot butler rolls out to begin life of thankless drudgery | Cult of Mac

Robot butler rolls out to begin life of thankless drudgery


Botlr hotel robot Aloft

Photo: Aloft

Guests of the boutique Aloft Silicon Valley hotel might be a little surprised to see its newest employee.

It might be his height or his odd way of moving around, or it might be the basket of towels where its head should be. But mostly, it’s going to be weird because the new guy is a robot, and that’s just inherently strange at this point in history.

This Botlr is the hotel chain’s second robot worker, and both units come courtesy of Savioke, a company that designs autonomous employees for the hospitality industry. The first Botlr, which started out at Aloft’s Cupertino location a year ago, is going on tour to Miami and New York. And that probably sounds like a vacation, but it’s still going to have to deliver papers and toothbrushes when it’s there.

“We embarked upon this robotic experiment years ago, and it has proven what we suspected all along — humans and robots can co-exist and work side by side to elevate the guest experience,” said Aloft parent company Starwood’s global brand leader, Brian McGuinness in a press release. “Botlr has been an integral part of the Aloft Cupertino experience, and the demand from guests and associates around the world to interact with our biotic bellhop has been astounding. As we add our second Botlr to the Aloft team and transfer our first Botlr to new hotels around the country, we know they will continue to not only make hospitality history, but, more importantly, memories for our guests.”

That same press release has a quotation from Botlr itself, and it’s in binary. So that’s a thing that showed up in our mailbox.

Now all that remains is to see whether those real-life Terminators will deride Botlr or just start killing humans until the cybernetic hotel workers are “liberated.”