Comment: Amplifying the AI revolution in travel

Generative AI need not be restricted to text or images but can extend to conversation, says Steve Endacott

Over the past six months, numerous TV programmes and newspaper articles have highlighted the significant influence of major artificial intelligence (AI) engines, such as ChatGPT, Bard and Claude, on white-collar industries.

In straightforward terms, AI’s boost to efficiency may render over 50% of administrative roles obsolete. Currently, there is a lack of strategies for reallocating displaced workers, risking significant societal upheaval and even bigger gaps between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

However, one outcome seems almost certain: those still employed will likely shift to a four-day work week and enjoy more vacation time, providing a major opportunity for the travel industry to exploit.

Customers will have more time for city breaks as well as longer and more frequent holidays, but at the same time the industry will have to provide more inspiration about destination choice.

I’m channelling the majority of my investments into the AI sector by establishing an AI Incubator. The aim? To pair budding AI entrepreneurs with seasoned professionals across various sectors. These veterans bring capital, availability and invaluable expertise to guide emergent leaders in swiftly scaling their ventures.

The AI upheaval promises to outpace and outstrip the industrial revolution in its intensity. It mirrors an arms race, where rapid market entry is paramount. Diversifying business investments is crucial, ensuring that several ventures thrive amid the competition.

I’m excited to announce the launch of a first AI concept that has reached the prototype stage and is ready for consumer testing before being rolled as a business venture – Neural Voice.

At its core, it’s voice-to-voice AI rather than the standard text-to-text AI engine. Rather than typing out your questions, you can engage in a fluid conversation with AI.

The potential applications for this are vast and, frankly, astounding. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Few people realise how out of date most AI engines are, with ChatGPT knowing nothing of the world post-September 2021 when it was last updated.

Essentially, the AI must be tailored and trained on specific content relevant to your business for meaningful customer interactions. This demands regular updates to maintain precision.

The adage ‘quality in equals quality out’ holds true. While these major AI engines provide a robust foundation, they require tailored ‘vehicles’ or application layers built around them to ensure practical deployment.

I use the analogy of constructing a car around the engine. It’s about crafting the design, dimensions and colour whilst equipping it with a ‘Sat Nav’ tailored to the specific business.

If you think I’m just hyping the concept, I encourage you to see for yourself. Check out our demonstration videos on YouTube.

Our lead customer hails from the US, which explains the American accent of ‘AI Jane’, our virtual travel agent. But crafting diverse voices is a swift process nowadays. For a taste, tune into ‘AI Steve’, a virtual embodiment of me, reciting this blog.

The striking similarity, based on just a three-minute voice sample, is a cautionary tale for those whose banks still rely on voice recognition.

Not surprisingly, the team are incredibly busy, but feel free to visit the Neural Voice holding page to register to be one of the first users to play with the new tools when they are released for public use.

If your business has yet to embark on the AI journey, I urge you to assemble a youthful team to anticipate the impending changes. Stay ahead of the curve, otherwise, you risk being overshadowed by newcomers propelled by this exponentially growing phenomenon.

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