If you were to ask someone familiar with the term “artificial intelligence” they may paint a picture of a future with all marketplaces flooded with robots taking over jobs more efficiently than any human has every been capable of. While this type of future may be on the horizon, perhaps it is further out than it first appears. Anyone who travels regularly will tell you that, as far as they’re concerned, AI and traveling technologies simply don’t mix. Not at this point in time, at least.
A traveler, when asked, may tell an entirely different story than the artificial intelligence obsessed individual who sees potential from AI peeking just around the corner. As far as a traveler is concerned, the technologies of artificial intelligence, such as those used in chat-bots, are far from being perfected. Since we are still experiencing the early days of this type of customer service technology using AI algorithms, those who utilize the search results or question and answer apps presented by the technology are seeing mixed results. It looks to be that most travelers prefer to work with a real person, rather than a machine, when trying to figure out an issue during travel. Not surprising, since most people who contact customer support through the phone (for example) usually prefer to speak to a person rather than a machine.
Someone who has experienced an AI program such as Hipmunk, which has grown in popularity and is often viewed as one of the most clever chat-bots on the market, often end up getting confusing results from their requests. Asking for a nice getaway location that is submerged in a cold weather climate, the Hipmunk program comes back with results that are only vaguely related or even come back with a result to a location that is in a warm place like the Bahamas.
Travelers have expressed that they see promise in such technology but that at this point in time, there are too many kinks to be worked out before they will see it as a more reliable option that speaking with a real person on the matter. Those who use programs like Hipmunk agree that it can replace some of the more simpler tasks but that its unreliability and inconsistent nature makes it not something that can be depended on in more serious situations. The mechanical and not very detailed responses are often a frustrating component for chat-bot users.