My name is AI – how may I help you
The travel agent of 2017 will not be a travel agent
Technology drives and shifts and moves things forward. It makes life easier. The things that we take for granted now would be considered impossible a decade or more ago. Smart phones are not that old. When I started my first company in 2000, I was able to do all of my transacting online. I never went into the bank. My parents, also running a business, couldn’t believe it. They also suggested emails would never be their most common communication device.
How things change.
2016 saw the broad acceptance of the chat bot. Actually, people didn’t necessarily accept them but found themselves chatting online receiving help. Most left blissfully unaware that they had been chatting to an algorithm.
You visit a website and someone pops up saying “can I help you”. Is that actually a person?
Ask yourself a second question – if I get the information I need does it matter?
A Japanese company is about to take this to a new level.
“A future in which human workers are replaced by machines is about to become a reality at an insurance firm in Japan, where more than 30 employees are being laid off and replaced with an artificial intelligence system that can calculate payouts to policyholders.
Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes it will increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years. The firm said it would save about 140m yen (£1m) a year after the 200m yen (£1.4m) AI system is installed this month. Maintaining it will cost about 15m yen (£100k) a year.”
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Insurance claims are complex. The process of capturing information is complex, comes in a regular syntax and seldom broken down to data. Seriously clever software. Literally
Could an AI travel agent really be that hard?
“Hi there – my name is Aiva – how can I help you today”
“Yes I would like to book a trip to Hawaii”
“Sure, when we looking at going….”
I can turn on my phone and say “okay Google…” And dictate my queries away. And as 1 million science fiction writers have said since the dawn of time, artificial intelligence and machines main fact one day surpass man.
The future for travel agents could be in the direction of providing holiday advice to newly minted robots.