Artificial Intelligence… Where could and should AI be adopted in our industry?
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Artificial intelligence is rapidly moving from the laboratory and into business and consumer applications. The result is a fundamental shift in how software is built, and what it's capable of doing. And while we're still a way off from the artificial general intelligence portrayed in the movies, artificial narrow intelligence is a reality that's already powering some of the most successful technology businesses today, including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple.
So… Which areas of the hospitality industry are and will be most suited to implement AI and why? What's your take?
AI is a popular subject at the Royal Institution where I'm a patron and it is the World's oldest science charity (set up by Michael Faraday in 1799) and it is based in Albemarle St in Piccadilly. The Ri run low-cost talks aimed at a non-techy audience and often get great speakers in who explain complex subjects very clearly. More here if anyone is interested: https://www.rigb.org/
Prof Chris Bishop who heads up Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Microsoft's Cambridge Labs is a regular presenter. The Ri captures all of the talks on their YouTube channel and this one by Chris as an introduction to AI is well worth a watch.
There are many buzzwords in this area including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Intelligence, Machine Learning, Neural Nets etc, but Chris explains them all very well. Basically, AI is the broad subject of machines doing tasks that we would consider smart. Machine Learning is a subset of AI and is where we give machines some clever algorithms (rules) and lot of data and let them spot patterns and deduce findings for themselves. A Neural Net is a computer system designed to work by classifying information in the same way a human brain does. They work on probability and feedback, and a lot of trial and error. Augmented Intelligence is man and machine working in concert eg a surgeon might use AI to review thousands of cat scans but use his/her personal experience to decide next steps on any exceptional cases.
AI has been with us for some time and it's behind the collaborative filtering used by Amazon, Spotify, Netflix and other retailers, to match new products with current likes or purchases.
Where is AI in hospitality? Currently, a lot of work is happening in Revenue Management to optimise pricing in ways that humans couldn't begin to do manually. Some general hospitality examples: https://www.revfine.com/artificial-intelligence-hospitality-industry/
Also, AI is behind the various chatbots that are appearing eg The Radisson's Edward agent: https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2016/05/10/radisson-blu-hotel-guests-can-now-text-edward-the-chatbot-for-service/#5b208401e23c
AI will have a great future in hospitality where pattern recognition within big data sets is needed, which will include understanding guest preferences and recommending future stays and linked experiences.