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Robots, AIs to take over 2/3 of jobs at Dutch-themed amusement park: president

The Huis Ten Bosch theme park is seen in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture. (Mainichi)

SASEBO, Nagasaki -- The Dutch-themed Huis Ten Bosch (HTB) amusement park here will use artificial intelligence systems to increase efficiency and slash the park's workforce by two-thirds to about 600 within three years, company president Hideo Sawada told the Mainichi Shimbun.

According to the Huis Ten Bosch Inc. chief, he does not have plans to lay off the staff made redundant by AI, but will rather have them transferred to other new or existing HTB group businesses.

HTB also operates the Henn na Hotel (strange hotel) on the premises of the park, which opened in 2015 and features an array of automated services including a front desk staffed by robots. The company plans to take what it has learned from the hotel to expand use of the technology at the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park.

Ticket booths, the telephone reservation system for the park hotel, and guidance and cleaning services for the park grounds are among the functions Sawada wants AIs and robots to take over. For example, he sees AI-based characters on tablet computers providing visitor guidance and event information, and answering customer questions.

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

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