Artificial Intelligence for Hotels

A person holding an A.I posits note. Artificial Intelligence is here.
28th January 2020

You must be a 4.0 or above to enter – Social Scoring by AirBnB

Sliding into this new decade a scary precedence is upon us. Artificial Intelligence is everywhere, and while the general public often exhibits confusion as to what Artificial Intelligence (AI) is. I think there can be no confusion over what the latest announcement from AirBnB is all about.

Most recently I talked about the Fourth Industrial Revolution being upon us. Of course, the Fourth Industrial Revolution isn’t a technology per se, no, it’s an era. An era of explosion of technologies. Some of which, we don’t know about yet.

Development is outpacing our conscious mind. One thing we are aware of though is Artificial Intelligence (AI), sometimes called Machine Learning.

Read on to find out more.

A Hotel Technology & Travel Technology blog by HotelTCS. Every week we cover topics concerning Technology in the Hospitality Industry. Looking at subjects such as IPTV, HSIA, WiFi, GPON and IoT, we give you the insider info on Smart Hotels and Intelligent Hotel Deployments. Subscribe below for updates!

Talking Artificial Intelligence

I discuss AI all the time. It’s huge in my industry of travel and hotel technology right now. In fact only this week I’ve written two other articles on AI. AI is commonplace.

Pre-stay chatbots, digital concierge, predictive data analysis. This may be surprising to those outside the industry, but let me assure you, our elephants are doing well with this.

This move by Airbnb is more though. So big, that amongst all the chatter about AI I have been invited to speak about this specific move, not once, but twice in the last 7 days.

A man using a phone

Guesting on Episode 45 of the Cloudreach Cloudbursting podcast we discussed at length this intriguing move by Airbnb. Leaving the hosts visibly shocked. Check it out to see what I mean on the link above, however, it won’t be released until early March!

Mirroring the Future, and it’s Black

I’m sure many of you will have seen the episode of Black Mirror named NoseDive. If you haven’t, allow me to explain (and check it out on Netflix after reading this!).

Lacie lives in a world where social ranking is key. In a universe not so dissimilar to that in which we live, every social interaction between 2 people is given a rating. These ratings are averaged out to give you an overall rating, or in fact, a ranking. I say ranking because people measure up to each other based on their ranking. In fact, certain places, and activities are only accessible to those achieving a specific threshold.

These social rankings have become so critical that even being seen with people of a lower-ranking will cause you issues. Lacie herself is disgusted that she has to live with her brother, who has a ranking of only 3.0. Lacie, a 4.2 wants to purchase a new apartment to avoid having to live with her brother. The sales representative, however, informs Lacie that she needs to be a 4.5 or above to live in this neighbourhood. Easter egg: The sales representative is a cameo by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, famous for being Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim vs the World.

A stroke of luck occurs when Lacie is offered the opportunity to attend an old friends wedding. A friend who is 4.8. This offers Lacie the opportunity to become a social climber and achieve the hallowed 4.5.

Anyway, to avoid this becoming a full-blown Roger Ebert style film review, let’s just say things don’t go as planned. Lacie’s attempt at social elevation caused a multitude of issues which resulted in her being a shadow of her former self, and of course, a much lower ranking. Finally, she finds herself entombed inside a prison of her own making. Seemingly all caused by the desire for approval.

So What Does This Have to do With Artificial Intelligence and AirBnB?

Well Airbnb have decided to create a similar environment. Quietly.

Ranking by Artificial Intelligence

Using Artificial Intelligence AirBnB are trawling social media profiles. All social media profiles. Your social media profile.

In early 2019 a London Apartment was listed on AirBnB. It was rented for one night by a seemingly respectable guest. That guest went on to throw an all-night party, causing a huge amount of damage.

Now, that’s not to say AirBnB don’t protect themselves from occurrences such as this. As part of their terms and conditions, Airbnb Hosts have various protections. Of course, I’m not here to comment on whether these T&C’s are sufficient, but it seems clear that Airbnb wants to take every step to protect themselves, and reduce the chance of some components of these T&C’s being invoked.

Artificial Intelligence of 4.5 or Above Please

So, as I said before. Using Artificial Intelligence AirBnB are trawling social media profiles.

Using the data available via social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Airbnb is building a picture of you. A picture of you that they will use to decide how good of a guest you might be. How likely you might be to “wreck a joint”.

A wrecked room

Looking for evidence of drug use, excessive alcohol consumption. and partying is one thing. Team this with a scan of what groups you belong to, who is in your friendship circle and what pages you “like”, you can see how easy it is for them to build a picture of you as a person. Be it right, or wrong.

Taking Care is Nothing New

For years now, awareness of what we share via social channels has been at the forefront of our minds. Many people have been through the profile tidy up when applying for a new job. We all assume that when we have employment or contract opportunities, people will take a cursory glance at our profiles, just to check for any alarm bells.

Now though, Artificial Intelligence is doing that for them. Before you even have the chance to tidy up, you’ve been crawled. Indexed. Scored. Just like that, it could be too late. You’re on AirBnB’s naughty list.

So thinking back to Lacie, and her attempt to climb the social ladder. Will we all become Lacies? Desperately trying to improve our ratings so AirBnB will let us stay in the most premium of properties? It may seem like a far fetched, dystopian future, but this writer thinks, we are only a step away.

Just like Marriott have followed AirBnB into the apartment letting market, perhaps our big brands will follow into this too………

I’m off to clean up my profiles, hopefully, it’s not too late! Perhaps, so should you!

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