The Las Vegas tech convention showcased a robotic barista that can create the perfect latte, raising concerns about the future of hospitality jobs. A barista at the SAHARA Las Vegas Hotel & Casino expressed his worries, stating that it is “very scary and eye-opening to see how humans can think of replacing other humans.” Additionally, there were demonstrations of robots capable of completing deliveries, automated masseuses, AI-powered grills, and robot chefs.
This has sparked worry among casino workers in Las Vegas, who threatened strike action in 2023 as they sought new contracts to protect themselves from the advancement of AI. Ultimately, they secured assurances that they would receive training in new systems, as well as $2,000 in severance pay for each year they worked if their job is replaced by AI or technology. They also have the option to move to different departments if their job is lost to automation.
The use of technology to replace workers is already occurring in many Las Vegas resorts, with robot bartenders, automated valet tickets, and self-check-in areas being implemented. This automation poses a particular threat to jobs that do not require face-to-face interaction with customers, such as cooks, food prep, and housekeeping. According to University of Nevada, Las Vegas Hospitality Department Associate Professor Bill Werner, automating these roles won’t hurt the customer experience. This is a significant concern in a city where high-quality customer service is essential.
Overall, the demonstrations of robotic and AI technology at the Las Vegas tech convention have raised concerns among casino workers about the future of their jobs. This issue has been at the forefront of their minds, leading to negotiations for new contracts that include protections against the potential replacement of their roles by technology. The impact of automation on employment in the hospitality industry is a significant issue that will continue to be monitored closely.