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COMPILED BY MAT THEW PARSONS


IN FOCUS


1


THE COMMENTATOR Andrew Burgess author and AI consultant


WE ARE CONSTANTLY EXPOSED to the hype around artificial intelligence: no other tech- nology can create such excitement and fear in equal measure. But AI today is very narrow in its capabilities – each instance can do one, very specific thing well. Some of these it does far better than humans, such as weather forecasting, but others are playing catch up to our own inherent abilities. A good example of this is facial recogni- tion: this is being used in airports to validate passports, but also by the police to identify criminals, and, more sinisterly, by the Chinese to track ethnic minorities. Facial recognition systems have been proven to be discriminatory but, more importantly, they simply aren’t good enough yet. Mistakes will be made and innocent people


will be impacted. Let’s make sure we know the limitations of the technology and manage its use carefully.


3


THE CHATBOT DEVELOPER Jonathan Newman chief commercial officer, Caravelo


MUCH HAS BEEN MADE OF the potential pitfalls of AI and the ramifications should we let it grow untethered. Not enough has been made of human intelligence. The key to competent yet empathetic AI is insightful, human contribution. We have been utilising AI to focus on customer and business chal- lenges for many years. Our view is that AI’s primary function is to enhance the human experience and support agents in providing an excellent service. For example, a year ago a chatbot could make a booking from a command such as “book me a round trip to Zurich next Thurs- day”. Now however, AI enables a greater level of integrated complexity to fulfil a booking with the understanding of what is a relevant day trip to Zurich for that customer. AI supports human agents in their pursuit of seamless, personalised service, by simplifying repetitive tasks and customer interactions. It’s vital that advancements in AI are guided by human intelligence to ensure an enriched experience.


buyingbusinesstravel.com SIGHT


How best should we manage artificial


intelligence? Experts share their views on the use and


ethics of this fast-growing area of


technology


2 4


THE CEO Jill Palmer chief executive, Click Travel


FOR ANY BUSINESS LOOKING TO adopt AI into its operation, the first question should be: “What are we hoping to achieve?”. If the answer is simply to cut costs or improve efficiencies, there is a risk of damaging customer relation- ships. AI should be used to speed assistance for a traveller and give them a better experience. For example, our AI Travel Assistant identifies


opportunities to provide automated responses to frequently asked questions. We ensure the traveller understands they are talking to a bot and provide the option of speaking to the team. At this stage, AI hasn’t advanced enough


to be reliably used for more complex appli- cations. It’s unethical to rely on AI to assist a traveller facing a complex problem – when your flight has been cancelled and you’re stuck in an unfamiliar country at midnight, you’ll want to speak to a person, not a bot. Likewise, we don’t think it’s ethical to put people out of work by replacing them with AI.


THE TECH EXPERT Michel Rouse chief technology officer EMEA, FCM Travel Solutions


AI SHOULD BE A MEANS OF augmenting human capability, not replacing it. At FCM Solutions, we believe in expe- rience-led technology and focusing on AI as a decision-support mechanism, not a replacement of human intelligence. Our chatbot-based app, Sam, uses AI to provide contextual information to travellers and automates responses to common requests. However, it is important for any travel brand using AI to be transparent with cus- tomers and let them know you are collecting their data to further personalise the service it provides to them. GDPR has been a step in the right direc- tion in Europe, but governments should keep an eye on emerging technologies to ensure protection of data. It’s also important to provide a level of service that doesn’t just rely on data gathering. The goal should be to find the right balance between artificial and human intelligence so that you can deliver the best customer experience.


2019 JULY/AUGUST 7


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