Hotel Shows Off Robot Butler

December 6, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. butler /ˈbʌt lər/ (n.) – chief male servant at a house; often in charge of assisting guests
Example: The butler offered wine to the visitors.

2. amenity /əˈmɛn ɪ ti, əˈmi nɪ-/ (n.) – things or goods providing comfort
Example Guests can request amenities like wine late at night.

3. head /hɛd/ (v.) – to go to a specific place or location
Example: Visitors are heading back to the hotel to rest.

4. compartment /kəmˈpɑrt mənt/ (n.) – an enclosed space or area where items can be stored
Example: Ron hid the papers in the compartment.

5. hospitality /ˌhɒs pɪˈtæl ɪ ti/ (n.) – the state or quality of being accommodating and attentive to guests or strangers
Example: Tourists love the hospitality shown by the hotel’s staff.


Read the text below.
An American company brings new life to hotel service by launching a robot butler.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide presented its robotic butler or “Botlr” named A.L.O. [ey-el-oh] in August at its subsidiary company Aloft [uh-LOFT] Cupertino [koo-per-TEE-noh] hotel in California. Robot manufacturer Savioke [SAV-ee-yohk] created A.L.O., also known as SaviOne [SAV-ee-wuhn], with the main purpose of providing amenities to guests.

According to Starwood's Specialty Select brands senior vice president Brian McGuinness [muh-GIN-is], known robot characters like Star Wars’ R2-D2, Rosie from the Jetsons, and Wall-E inspired the creation of A.L.O. He added that this new technology will attract the next generation of travelers raised between the 1980s and 2000s.

A.L.O.’s day starts with a room assignment given by a human employee. The Botlr will then head to the room carrying the items requested in its compartment. When it arrives at the assigned room, A.L.O. will call the room’s phone and give the items to the guest. Customers can then thank A.L.O. by giving it a rating or tweet.

The robot stands at three feet and weighs about 45 kilograms. It moves using its four wheels and sees through its 3D camera.

While Botlr seems an upgrade of traditional butlers, McGuiness clarifies that A.L.O. cannot replace the hospitality that only humans can give. Nonetheless, he expects to add more Botlrs in the future if the machine proves to be a success.

Savioke CEO Steve Cousins said that so far, A.L.O. has performed well and made guests happy. He added that the robot can also lighten the load of human staff during busy hours.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Botlr is necessary for hotels? Why or why not?
·         Which butler do you prefer to serve you, a human or machine? Kindly explain.

Discussion B

·         How do you think robots can help us in our everyday living?
·         Do you think artificial intelligence is superior to humans? Why do you say so?

December 6, 2014