If the movies have taught us nothing else, it’s that the fiery apocalypse will likely ride in on a wave of crackpot robot technology. The questions of sentience – of machines attaining a level of intelligence that places them on level pegging with humans – can be seen in classics such Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey from 1968, to scads of more recent work such as Alex Garland’s Ex Machina and Spike Jonze’ Her – both of explore the the possibility of a very near future in which mechanised products become a vital aspect of our emotional lives.
For the purposes of dramatic licence, those films tend to accelerate the level of technology while decreasing the temporal gap between the present and future as a way to make these stories connect. It enables the viewer to imagine themselves in this brave new world. The question then remains: where is robot technology really at? How long is it going to be before we’re conducting intimate love affairs with computerised voices? Will it really be too soon before white chrome humanoids with latex faces and dead eyes will become a threat to the existence of the human race? Or, will everything be A-OK? Will robots remain an eccentric pastime with no real human application beyond pure novelty value?
To explore these questions and and more, reporter Ben Ferguson has travelled to Tokyo to stay at the Henn-na Hotel which is staffed by bizarre robotic effigies. As he enters into the lobby, he’s welcomed by a talking dinosaur in a bellboy hat. To find out where breakfast is, he must ask directions from a small robot that resembles a child’s toy. Take a peek at his adventures on this video which was sponsored by KAYAK, in which he also stays in one of Japan’s famous “capsule hotels” and takes a magical mystery tour through a surreal, neon-lit appropriation of the Dutch landscape on Japanese soil.
Watch out for episode two, which will be dropping soon. For more details on KAYAK, head here.
Published 26 Oct 2015
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