Raj Singh

Cognitive computing and what it means to travel.

Computers making decisions like humans do.

Cognitive computing is the simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model. It involves self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works. Today we’ll learn what this means to the travel tech industry.

Episode Summary

Today we’re all inundated with news about artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and machine learning, somewhat like what cloud computing was 15 years ago, it was all kind of nebulous and nobody really understood what it meant, and then it changed the way that we work and live, and that is exactly what we see happening within travel and with business in general.

We’re all travelers, our journey is getting increasingly frazzled, complex and needs more management, none of us have time, and we need assistance, and cognitive computing is essentially computers making decisions like humans do. What are we doing with that ability that computers now have, which they did not five years ago? Things like classification, visual perception, speech recognition, those are some key areas of cognitive computing we’re now able to use and deliver service either instantly or significantly faster for travelers.

Technology is increasingly handling a lot of lower value tasks, like categorizing a problem and then dispatching it to the right person, and that allows for the humans to move up in the value chain. This means that every human employee, every human staff member involved in the travel journey, now has to think “what more can I do to serve this guest and how can I make their journey better?”, a question that cognitive computing has opened up for everybody involved.

Artificial intelligence is somewhat like what cloud computing was 15 years ago when we were all trading up USB drives with files on there, it was all kind of nebulous and nobody really understood what it meant, and then it became real very fast, and it changed the way that we work, it changed the way that we live and that is exactly what we see happening within travel and with business in general with technologies like cognitive computing

The goal of cognitive and artificial intelligence, based on all the experience we’ve had over the years developing, training, deploying these systems, is that it’s actually here to augment our intelligence, to serve humanity by actually augmenting and extending our intelligence. We are intelligent beings, but we’re also drowning in data and that’s where cognitive comes into place and helps us make sense of the world, to keep abreast and really expand our awareness into everything around us.

Technology has been advancing at a rate that had previously outpaced how quickly could be adopted by a business. Today we’re at a point where we have made all of these cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, so easily adoptable by a business that we’re just getting into a tipping point where instead of spending six figures and probably taking three to four months minimum to deploy something that was kind of okay, like you would have five years ago, today you can deploy within one day, and the cost is in the thousands, not in the hundreds of thousands.

I encourage people to think about the fact that as you’re solving business problems, try to think about what will 80% or more of your customers benefit from. How do you benefit the most number of people with the solution.

Our travel journey is getting increasingly frazzled and complex, and needs more management, and none of us have time, and we need assistance. And this is exactly what all of our interactions with technology have trained us to expect, service like THIS!

Questions & Answers

Why is cognitive computing relevant nowadays in the travel tech industry?

A: We’re all travelers, and we have lots of destinations yet to go to, and that journey is getting increasingly frazzled and complex, and needs more management, and none of us have time, and we need assistance. And this is exactly what all of our interactions with technology have trained us to expect, service like THIS (instantaneous). When you run a google search, if it takes longer than a second then you’re disappointed, right? Whereas if you’re spending three hundred dollars a night at a hotel, what is your level of expectation for that service? Do you expect to pick up that phone and wait on hold for 20 minutes potentially? Is that something that’s going to be acceptable in 2017? This is the big question that I think a lot of hotels need to keep in mind, and of course in travel in general, with weather delays, airlines needing to re-route and manage their customers expectations. Cognitive computing is essentially computers making decisions like humans do.

 

Is technology going to take over people’s jobs?

A: Technology is increasingly handling a lot of the kind of lower value tasks, like categorizing of a problem, and then dispatching it to the right person, and what that allows for the humans to do is to move up in the value chain. In the travel industry this means that every human employee, every human staff member involved in the travel journey, now has to think “well, what more can I do to serve this guest and how can I make their journey better?”, which is a question that cognitive computing is now opening up for everybody involved.

 

What is Ivy?

A:  Ivy is the world’s first smart texting platform for hotels created by go-moment, and essentially while you’re on your journey Ivy is always at your service, so think of her as a co-pilot in your pocket all throughout your journey, always scouting for the next thing that you may need and presenting, for example, dinner plans and restaurant reservations, anything else like that that you might need on your journey, Ivy will have ready and you can always ask for. There is no app to download, no urls to remember, nothing to scan. As a traveler it is seamless.

 

What is the reason that cognitive computing is so important in travel?

A:  Because Ivy for example gets smarter with every interaction with the guest and with the interaction with the staff, so on a quarterly basis we look at a snapshot of all of the conversations that are happening within the client-guest population, and then we look at training candidates which can be escalated, so Ivy will not answer anything unless she’s at least 98% confident, so it’s a very high bar, we want to make sure that the answer is there, and Ivy knows what she doesn’t know, so she’ll step out of the way and let a front desk person or a human expert handle that issue, and then kind of learn from that interaction, so if we see an issue come up over and over, it’s a great automation candidate and by automating those things again we allow the human staff to do more productive things, whatever that may be.

 

What is the ultimate goal of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence?

A: The kind of picture that’s painted about it is that the goal of cognitive and artificial intelligence is to ultimately replace human labor necessities. I don’t know that I necessarily agree with that. I believe that the goal of cognitive and artificial intelligence, based on all the experience we’ve had over the years, developing, training, deploying these systems, is that it’s actually here to augment our intelligence, that’s where cognitive comes into place and helps us make sense of the world, it helps us keep abreast and really expand our awareness into everything around us.

 

Why now?

A: Technology has been advancing at a rate that I think had previously outpaced how quickly could be adopted by business. I think today we’re at a point where we made all of these cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, so easily adoptable by a business that we’re just getting into that, we just hit that tipping point. I would say that five years ago you were looking at spending six figures and probably taking three to four months minimum to deploy something that was kind of okay. Today you can sign up for Ivy, we’ll deploy within one day, and the cost is in the thousands, not in the hundreds of thousands. I think is just a these technologies have just become democratized enough to really make an huge impact for billions of people.

X

For a written transcript copy of this interview please fill in the information below:

Thanks! we will be in touch soon

Close
Focus Mode

Contact Request

Close

We will call you right away. All information is kept private