Outside the Bubble 2/20/15

Comedy legend Jon Stewart will leave host spot on “The Daily Show”

Political satirist Jon Stewart announced his departure from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” on Feb. 10th, after 16 years of hosting the critically acclaimed comedy-news show.

In January 1999, Stewart became the show’s host and added to it a discourse of politics. He also utilized the role of correspondents, transforming the show into a news-driven program. By 2014, The Daily Show had won 19 Emmy Awards and a Grammy, and its nightly viewership had reached over 2.5 million.

The date of his final show has yet to be announced. Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless said, “We haven’t set a date for [Stewart’s] final show, but it will be sometime before the end of 2015. Through his unique voice and vision, ‘The Daily Show’ has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come.” (The Los Angeles Times, “Jon Stewart, a force in comedy and news, will leave ‘The Daily Show,’” 02.10.15)

Many politicians and journalists, some even targets of his mockery, have lamented Stewart’s decision to leave. New York Senator Charles Schumer, whose “Brooklyn accent” Stewart imitated in his show, said, “It’s top two or three in terms of influence on public opinion — and with young people, he’s probably No. 1.” Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who has also been one of his targets, admitted Stewart’s ability to make young audiences pay attention to serious political matters. He said, “He taught them why they should care.” (The New York Times, “They’ll Just Hate to See Jon Stewart Go (So They Say),” 02.11.15)

Although Stewart has often held that his show is not real news, it has become the primary news source of many. The idea of blending some of the more bland elements of news with comedy has been to many a valuable introduction into social and political affairs.

It is unclear what Stewart’s next step will be, as is the identity of his successor. The fast food chain Arby’s even jokingly tried to recruit Stewart. (ABC News, “Jon Stewart Reflects on Departure Reaction: ‘Did I Die?,’” 02.12.15) Wherever Stewart goes, overcoming his shadow will be a challenge for whomever Comedy Central picks to take up his mantel.


– Sieu Nguyen ’18, Guest Reporter


First fully-automated hotel to open in Japan

Huis Ten Bosch, a Japanese theme park, recently unveiled its plans to open a new hotel in July, which will employ androids to replace human labor. The hotel will be named the Henn-na Hotel, which translates from Japanese roughly either to the “strange hotel” or the “change hotel” to English. (CNN, “Bleep blorp: New Japanese hotel to be staffed by robots,” 02.05.15)

The Henn-na Hotel’s robotic staff is a product of Kokoro Co. Ltd., which develops innovative technology in collaboration with Osaka University. (CIO Today, “First hotel staffed by robots set to open in Japan,” 02.06.15) Known as actroids, the machines are capable of speech, eye contact and body language. First displayed in 2003, the actroids will be the futuristic hotel’s replacement for human concierges, bellhops and receptionists.

Japan’s history of innovation in the robotics industry includes the Advanced Step in Innovative MObility, better known as ASIMO. Built by Honda in 2000, the humanoid robot was designed to help people with mobility issues.In the same fashion, the automated hotel will attempt to keep room prices more affordable and accessible. At a press conference, Huis Ten Bosch Co. President Hideo Sawada remarked, “We will make the most efficient hotel in the world,” adding, “In the future, we’d like to have more than 90% of the hotel services operated by robots.” (Japan Times, “Huis Ten Bosch theme park to get hotel staff entirely by robots,” 01.28.15) Although some human workers will supervise the actroids, visitors will interact primarily with the robots.

Amenities at the hotel will include facial recognition scanners and body temperature monitors, which will replace older technologies such as keycards and thermostats respectively. According to a press conference for the Huis Ten Bosch, room prices will start at around $60. (Telegraph UK, “Robots to serve guests in Japanese hotel,” 02.03.15)

If all goes according to the company’s plan, the automated hotel is poised to become a new trend in the industry. The hotel will also use an auctioning system to determine room prices more efficiently, hoping to revolutionize not only the way hotels of the future function, but also how they will operate economically and strategically.


– Chris Pompetzki ’18, Guest Reporter

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