CES 2024: Robots in the Kitchen, Empathy in Our Hearts – The Future of Hospitality
Hospitality 2.0: CES 2024’s AI Revolution – Reskilling, Not Reeling
The dazzling lights of Las Vegas not only showcase the entertainment capital of the world but also the forefront of technological innovation. The CES 2024 technology trade show recently unveiled a myriad of AI-powered robots, leaving many in awe. However, for those like Roman Alejo, a 34-year-old barista at the Sahara hotel-casino, these innovations spark concerns about the future of hospitality jobs in the age of AI.
Source Credit: Associated Press (AP)
The AI-Powered Barista:
At CES 2024, a barista powered by artificial intelligence demonstrated latte art, a skill that usually takes months or even years to master. This captivating display of technology highlights the potential transformation of roles within the hospitality industry.
The emergence of robotics in the hospitality and service industry has raised concerns among labor unions. The recent contracts ratified by the casino workers union in Las Vegas shed light on the contentious issue of AI’s threat to union jobs. Technology, particularly AI and robotics, became a crucial negotiation point, prompting unions to be more deliberate in securing job protection for their members.
Evolution of Negotiations:
Bill Werner, an associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, notes that breakthroughs in AI technology have forced labor unions to rethink their negotiation strategies for job security. Unions must now consider the evolving landscape of jobs, especially with the integration of artificial intelligence.
In response to the growing influence of AI, the Culinary Union negotiated new language in its contracts, aiming to protect workers from both current and unforeseen advancements in technology. The safety net for workers now includes $2,000 in severance pay for each year worked if a job is eliminated by tech or AI, along with the option to transition to a different department within the company.
CES as a Predictor:
CES has become a crucial platform for unions to anticipate the impact of emerging technology on jobs. Over 100 union members attended CES 2024 to explore the latest tech innovations that could potentially put more casino jobs at risk.
Tech Innovations at CES 2024:
The CES 2024 show floor featured an array of AI-powered robots, including friendly-faced delivery bots, robotic masseuses, and AI-driven smart grills. Food tech startup Artly Coffee showcased autonomous barista bots designed to address labor shortages in the service industry.
CES 2024: AI’s Impact on Jobs:
While some argue that AI is filling gaps in the labor market and enhancing efficiency, experts like Werner express concerns about the threat AI poses to jobs that don’t require face-to-face interaction with customers, such as housekeeping and food preparation roles. The Las Vegas Strip, known for its commitment to top-notch service, serves as a testing ground for these technological advancements.
CES 2024: Will Robots Steal Your Hospitality Job? Or Usher in a Golden Age?
As CES 2024 showcased the latest in AI and robotics, the hospitality industry grapples with the potential transformation of jobs. Labor unions, including the Culinary Union, are proactively adapting to these changes by negotiating contracts that protect workers in the age of AI. The evolution of negotiations and the careful consideration of job security reflect the industry’s commitment to navigating the impact of AI on hospitality jobs.
Curious about the cutting-edge technology showcased at CES 2024? Check out our earlier blog post on the mesmerizing ‘Transparent TV: Launching the Spectacular See-Through Screens by LG‘ for a glimpse into the innovative products stealing the spotlight at the world’s premier tech event.