The travel industry is teeming with tech advancements and each one keeps pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible. The growth of the industry seems exponential, as with each step forward, we open up so many doors to the next big technology breakthrough.
With that in mind, are we heading towards a future where technology takes over the travel industry? It’s a scary concept to think we’ll be overrun by our technology but as we strive to innovate, it’s looking as though we’re set to become products of our own demise.
Each push of our current boundaries slowly moves us, bit by bit, into the unknown. And it’s the unknown that’s so daunting.
So let’s take a look at our terrifying prospects for the future of tech in travel…
The advancement of artificial intelligence
We’ve all seen or at least heard of “2001 A space odyssey”, right? The computer HAL is nice at first and then turns evil, because that doesn’t make us the least bit worried about what Artificial Intelligence could be capable of.
Have you ever wanted your very own travel companion, right in the palm of your hand? These days, AI makes it possible. AI technology is slowly being implemented into just about every travel companion app on the market to help get to know its user best. ‘Visit Orlando’ claimed to have the first augmented reality and artificial intelligence app and Booking.com gave Google Trips a rival with their AI Experiences app.
By learning the interests of its user, they can provide them with the information they need most at any given moment. These technologies are advancing rapidly and it’s not long before they become integrated into our day to day lives. A computer will start learning what we like, what we don’t like, and before long, the AI will have learnt so much (due to our constant use of tech) that they would know us just like we know ourselves. It’s scary, right?
From Apples Siri to the new Google assistant, AI tech is just about everywhere and the limits of what these technologies can do are constantly being pushed. With the mass amount of data these AI technologies will have access to, thanks to the internet, who knows what things the computer will learn, IBM’s Watson even learnt to curse!
Robots replace the humans
“The robot at the front desk was very helpful.” A few years ago if someone said that to you, you would have thought they were crazy, but it’s even crazier to see it becoming reality.
In some countries around the world, you’ll be seeing less of your fellow humanoids and more androids as they are implemented into hotels to assist the wide array of travellers that will come to stay. From receptionists to room service droids, hotels are being staffed by the “subservient cyborgs” in an attempt to increase efficiency and improve the customer experience.
The ‘Henn-na Hotel’ even has the tagline “The world’s first hotel staffed by robots”, a prospect that sounds all fun and exciting at first, but soon, will there be any need for humans to work there? Just one who has the job of opening up a panel on their backs and keeping them maintained. Sounds like a movie cliché but is this what the future can hold?
TV’s WestWorld gives us a glimpse into a near future with a world populated by android “hosts” that are programmed to believe they are human and to serve and entertain guests who pay to visit, but instead begin to develop sentience and pose a threat to the humans. Still think androids are a good idea?
It’s unnerving to think that, in a few years time, whatever hotel you arrive at, you could be greeted with the cold and synthesised “how can I help?” of an android assistant at the front desk. And from hotel chains to other businesses, they could all soon be part of the android takeover.
If I recall correctly, the 1990s saw a robot-driven car end its days by driving straight into a wall, resulting in a rather big explosion. Arnie should feel lucky to be alive.
We do appreciate some good old fashioned human interaction, especially on holiday. You’re in a foreign country; you don’t know where to go or how to get there. That’s why it’s such a relief to see your driver waiting for you, to get you where you need to go without the hassle of stopping off at EVERY SINGLE hotel along the way. But, what if instead of meeting your driver, you meet your car?
Google was one of the first tech companies to give autonomous cars a try and their advancements into the project are becoming better with each day. This has inspired other companies such as NuTonomy, a small self-driving taxi service start-up in Singapore, to make driverless cars a reality. The innovative tech that powers these cars is beyond belief and soon could be implemented across taxi style services across the world. Watch out, Über!
It’s shocking enough to think that tech will soon be ‘taxi-ing’ us around in possible 4-wheeled death traps. The safest hands are surely our own but soon it looks like the machine will be set to take the wheel. Have fun stepping into your driverless taxi in the future and just watch it pull off as if a ghostly presence had sat in the driver’s seat.
So for a real scare this Halloween, you should take a moment and think; how terrifying have the advancements of tech really become? Although the more terrifying prospect is…what’s next?