Habitat_Henry_Frank

Homebuyers Kina Henry and Brittani Frank celebrate their new homes last year. The cousins, who work in the hospitality industry, l purchased the homes with no-interest loans from New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

A big story these days involves the prospect that more and more jobs will be replaced by automation. But Louisiana’s hospitality industry, a huge driver of its economy, might not be so vulnerable to the rise of the robots.

A funny Wall Street Journal story last week detailed problems at the aptly named Strange Hotel in Japan, where mechanical staffers were brought in to do the work of human ones. It hasn’t worked out too well, with more than half of the hotel’s 243 robots getting the pink slip. They were creating more labor than they saved, especially a voice-activated room assistant so sensitive it was triggered by a guest’s snoring. Other robots got stumped by routine questions, and the mechanized luggage carriers are so wimpy that they malfunction in wet weather.

For now, at least, there’s still a need for flesh-and-blood employees to make hotel guests feel at home. In Louisiana, and elsewhere, hospitality workers can breathe a sigh of relief.