A+ FOR AI IN TRAVEL

Travel Daily - - News - With David Gold­man

The rapid speed at which tech­nol­ogy is ad­vanc­ing means hav­ing a deep and mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion with a com­puter might

off’ not be far

AS WE en­ter an age where con­ver­sa­tions with de­vices are be­com­ing the norm ver­sus the ex­cep­tion and fol­low­ing the launch of Google Du­plex ear­lier this month, it is in­ter­est­ing to explore the grow­ing phe­nom­e­non of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) and its im­pact on the cor­po­rate travel mar­ket.

Google Du­plex is be­ing coined the world’s most life­like com­puter – it re­sponds in a voice that doesn’t sound like a robot and doesn’t re­peat what you say. Essen­tially, it’s an am­pli­fied ver­sion of Siri that’s pre­dicted to even­tu­ally ex­pand to a sup­port cen­tre level.

To show­case the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of Du­plex, Google As­sis­tant made a phone call to set up a hair ap­point­ment at a salon. The re­cep­tion­ist, un­aware she was speak­ing to AI-pow­ered tech­nol­ogy, asked the caller (Google As­sis­tant) to hold. The As­sis­tant re­sponded with “mmm- hmm”.

While not a live demon­stra­tion, Google Du­plex re­mains in its in­fancy - with eth­i­cal ques­tions re­main­ing around whether Google As­sis­tant should have de­clared it was a com­puter - the stunt did ask the big­ger ques­tion of whether hu­mans and AI can col­lab­o­rate ef­fec­tively.

In the cor­po­rate travel space there are al­ready some early plat­forms in op­er­a­tion, Gold­man Travel Corporation’s travel and ex­pense man­age­ment sys­tem Serko has launched Zeno - a hy­brid of AI and in­te­grated con­sul­tant sup­port and ex­per­tise. Zeno is seam­less, mak­ing it easy to book flights, ho­tels and ground trans­port in a sin­gle itin­er­ary.

While there’s still a long way to go in de­vel­op­ing and bring­ing AI to life, the rapid speed at which tech­nol­ogy is ad­vanc­ing means hav­ing a deep and mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tion with a com­puter might not be as far off as we think.

I be­lieve AI will be­come an es­sen­tial cus­tomer ser­vice fea­ture the cor­po­rate travel world can­not es­cape and is some­thing we will all need to work with and ul­ti­mately em­brace. If you aren’t al­ready us­ing some form of AI in your busi­ness – are you open to it?

I would love to hear your com­ments, so please email me: david@gold­mantravel.com.au.

David Gold­man is the joint man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Gold­man Travel Corporation, which is a third-gen­er­a­tion travel man­age­ment com­pany. The com­pany has won mul­ti­ple awards at the NTIA and is part of the pres­ti­gious Vir­tu­oso net­work.

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