In an already tough job market, a recent study by Commodity.com predicts that more than 49.3% of jobs in Las Vegas are at risk for transition to automation, threatening even more workers around the Las Vegas Strip. This includes gaming dealers, waiters, and many others that would not traditionally be thought of us as artificial intelligence qualified roles, making locals wonder about the true motives.
If you’ve ever visited the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, you have may have seen the “Tipsy Robot” mixing cocktails with a mechanical arm. Or maybe you’re familiar with the Caesars Entertainment virtual concierge, “Ivy,” which provides text optional entertainment and food recommendations, housekeeping requests, dinner reservations, and answers frequently asked questions without human assistance. As more and more conveniences become accessible via robotic technology, AI is emerging as a more productive, flexible, and cost-efficient option for a 24/7 town like Las Vegas.
According to the aforementioned study, “gambling dealers, who have a probability of automation of 96%, earn a median annual wage of less than $24,000. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Chief Executives have just a 1.5% risk of automation and earn a median annual wage of $186,000. Most occupations fall somewhere between these extremes.”
Analysts continue to support that lower-paying jobs are of higher contention for automation due to the nature of processing, repetition, and manual labor involved. Most casinos already offer slot machine versions of table games, featuring virtual dealers and pre-recorded responses. Considering so many innovations like this are tailored to the hospitality and gambling industries, Las Vegas tops the list for the likelihood of an AI dominant future, with approximately 305,650 jobs moving to robotic technology.
These findings consequentially beg the question: Is there a plan to push workers out of Las Vegas for these automated alternatives?
Since the pandemic and the soaring inflation levels, automation has become increasingly more familiar. “Six months ago, all these workers were essential,” said a union representing grocery workers to the New York Times. “Everyone was calling them heroes. Now, they’re trying to figure out how to get rid of them.”
Las Vegas is home to the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the world’s largest electronics conventions which showcases the year’s newest innovations and technologies. At the 2022 CES show, a South Korean company showcased a robot that follows guests while carrying their luggage, even delivering bags to hotels rooms.
Reportedly, other robots from this year’s convention are already being utilized in China and have navigation abilities that mimic restaurant bussers. For a fraction of the cost, Vegas restaurants can replace wait staff with automated machines that can collect plates and glasses. A single model begins at $18,000 according to KTNV, a significant decrease in cost compared to a full-time employee.
While AI becomes more sophisticated, it is no surprise that people are becoming worried that they may be replaced. In the defense of the many businesses considering automation, post-COVID recruitment has not been easy. Various hiring managers around the country have shared the distress in finding workers amidst the pandemic. For entry-level jobs, the most efficient and quickest solution is to trend towards automation.
Many notable companies including hospitality leader Marriott International, have already implemented “chatbots” to answer customer questions and concerns, for example. “Powered by data driven logic and specialized algorithms,’ these chatbots not only increase convenience for guests but also reduce labor costs for Marriott,” said Willa Zhou in an analysis on Marriott’s new technology.
Not only can these bots speak in any language, but they are also available 24/7 for guests all around the world. These attributes could be costly when it comes to hiring qualified personnel; however, chatbots can do it all at a lower cost with the convenience of reliability, flexibility, and zero training or company benefits cost. As the world progresses technologically, inflation soars, and the need to take proprietary measures to impress patrons increases, many businesses undoubtedly will follow Marriott in choosing automation before employing traditional staff.
Ultimately, there is nothing like being greeted by a Las Vegas local and receiving a personalized, tailored experience while on vacation. Bartenders, dealers, and concierge staff are often a traveler’s best source for the intel and connection but are unfortunately the first contenders for automation.
In a luxury world like Las Vegas, will casino owners continue to push for employee replacement, or will they realize that the need for people in a customer service prominent town goes unmatched?