Huis Ten Bosch to replace 2/3 of workforce with robots

Huis Ten Bosch, the Dutch-themed theme park in Nagasaki, will use AI and robots to to replace two-thirds of the park’s workforce, says company president Hideo Sawada.

The Huis Ten Bosch Inc. chief told the Mainichi Shimbun that he will not lay off the staff made redundant by AI, but will move them to other HTB group businesses.

Sawada said: “There will be no decline in the quality of service our customers demand. I want robots and AIs to handle simple tasks, leaving the humans to do more creative work.”

Sawada envisions AIs and robots taking over functions such as ticket booths, the telephone reservation system for the park hotel, and guidance and cleaning services for the park grounds.

One example of his vision is AI-based characters on tablets providing visitor guidance and event information, and answering customer queries.

Robots and AI were recently featured by Blooloop as two of six technologies to watch in 2018.

Huis Ten Bosch is themed on an idealised vision of Holland in the Middle Ages. The park is named after one of the palaces belonging to the Dutch royal family. It features life-size models of some of the country’s most historic buildings  as well as canals, windmills and fields of tulips.

It is also famously the home of the Henn na Hotel which is staffed almost entirely by robots.

A recent addition to the park is a virtual reality coaster that simulates a 300m drop, speeds of 270kmh, and a course length of 3000m. Riders climb aboard a coaster-style cart and don head-mounted VR display and headphones. The VR experience takes 2 minutes 30 seconds. Motion seats and the movements of the cart enhance the experience.

The park attracts about 3 million visitors a year and generates in the region of $89.5 million annually.

Image: Huis Ten Bosch

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