Scott Hartley: In this world where we focus so much on what we're building, how we're building it, I think we need to take a step back and reconsider why we're building, and really humanize our technology, really bring together diverse teams of methodologies and people and mindsets so that we can take our technology and actually apply it to the most fundamental human problems. Today the conversation is largely about artificial intelligence, and one of the concepts that I like to discuss in the book The Fuzzie and the Techie is this concept of intelligence augmentation--so: thinking about using AI but using it in a way that's augmenting the ability of humans. So Paul English, who was the creator of Kayak.com, he is a techie through and through, but he also calls himself an AI realist; he's somebody who believes in the promise of artificial intelligence, but also realizes that this is not something that tomorrow or next year or maybe perhaps in the next decade is going to completely take away from the characteristics and the qualities of what a human can provide. And so he's now creating a company called Lola that's based in Boston, and Lola is sort of Kayak 2.0, where rather than trying to take the travel industry and put it online he's actually taking travel and putting it back into the hands of travel agents, real people that are working on the phones dealing with people that are calling in to book travel. And what he's doing is he's supplementing those travel agents with technology, with artificial intelligence, really "flipping the letters" and trying to use intelligence augmentation as an AI realist to sort of better the service that a travel agent can provide.
Virtual assistants can go beyond playing music or buying things on Amazon. And they don't need corps of developers or fancy artificial intelligence technology to do so. Business and society in general have moved a long way towards self-service. Most offices no longer have a secretarial pool, and most managers and even some executives don't have a dedicated assistant. Travel agents and other common jobs of yesteryear still exist but you don't go to a travel agent to book a simple direct domestic flight; you go to a website.
Within the span of a month during the summer of 2016, two of the top four U.S. airlines suffered crippling IT failures. Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) were each forced to cancel thousands of flights during the peak season, leading to lost revenue and reputational damage. This article originally appeared in the Motley Fool. The summer 2018 peak season is just getting started, but there has already been a major airline IT failure. In the past week, flight cancellations have rapidly mounted at American Airlines' (NASDAQ:AAL) regional subsidiary PSA Airlines, due to problems with the carrier's crew scheduling system.
Online search is now the first step for a majority of travelers, with some consumers visiting up to 38 sites before booking a ticket. Yet the travel industry must adapt to newer digital marketing strategies to win over potential customers. The key to success is delivering ultra-precisely targeted content, leveraging personalized retargeting combined with AI and deep learning. A single customer looking to book a trip can visits hundreds of travel pages each day. The search often takes weeks before the final purchase is made.
Because of its vast complexity and reliance on a large quantity of data, hotel distribution is one area of the travel sector that has the potential to be greatly improved by artificial intelligence. In today's hotel distribution landscape, inventory information such as rates and availability data are passed from one party to another through a variety of methods, including manual data entry, channel manager, and direct connectivity. As a result, the hotel distribution systems today are like a bunch of old and new machines duct-taped together. Artificial intelligence has the potential to change this by improving communications, discovery, and customer service among travel providers, travel agents, and travelers they're looking to reach. Artificial intelligence also creates an incentive to consolidate data.
False positives occur regularly with traditional rule-based anti-fraud measures, where the system flags anything that falls outside a given set of parameters. For example, if you are planning a trip abroad and you start buying airline tickets and accommodation, this may trigger a fraud warning. A smarter system as described in the two previous paragraphs, that can better understand the underlying patterns of human behavior, could potentially use the new customer data (your travel purchases) to match you with a different cluster of users (for example, holiday travelers). It can then test your behavior against transactions typical to that of the new cluster of users, holiday travelers in this example, before automatically raising a fraud flag on your account.
A tidal wave of change is barreling toward the auto industry--and as with any wicked swell, some of the surfers in the water will ride to glory, others will wipe out. The difference between them isn't necessarily who has the right board or the experience or the natural skills. Success or failure can simply depend on who's in the right position to catch the wave. And while you might not bet that Avis is likely to hang ten, the 72-year-old rental car company--which has been around so long, it got the Nasdaq symbol CAR--is dead set on proving you wrong and sticking around for the foreseeable future. "There's a big, gaping open space here," says Ohad Zeira.
Video: Portrait of a modern multi-cloud data center. Low-cost airline Ryanair plans to close the vast majority of its data centers over the next three years, as it moves its infrastructure to the cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The European airline, which carries over 130 million customers every year on more than 2,000 daily flights, already runs several elements of its core business on AWS, including hotel-booking site Ryanair Rooms and Ryanair.com. The airline is building a company-wide data lake on Amazon S3, using Amazon Kinesis to gain insights from customer and business data. See: Special report: The cloud v. data center decision (free PDF) Ryanair is standardizing on AWS services, including AWS databases, analytics, machine learning, and deep-learning services.
Machine vision, says Utrip, TUI's chosen partner in AI, natural language processing and machine learning From being one of the first to dabble in blockchain technology to driving forward with AI-fuelled partnerships, the TUI Group is on a mission to remain a travel heavy weight. In a recent move, the world's biggest travel company has signed a deal with Seattle-based AI firm Utrip, to up its game in offering a deeply personalised experience throughout the customer journey. The idea, David Schelp, managing director of TUI Destination Services (DS), said in a press release, is to combine its "inventory of unique destination experiences with Utrip's artificial intelligence solution to provide our guests with the most personalised travel planning experience available today". TUI passed on an opportunity to hop on a call to discuss the deal further, the ever enthusiastic Gilad Berenstein, CEO and co-founder of Utrip, was keen to talk about how far his company, which launched in 2012, has come. "The power of AI today is that we can match up people's preferences with the inventory that has already been curated by TUI or by any of the partners we work with," he says.