Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An intelligent travel assistant

It was way back in 1985 I first began exploring the use of AI expert systems to automate the travel process. At that time a close friend worked for Mad Intelligent Systems in Santa Clara California. I was at United Airlines and I already had a thirst for emerging technology. I believed that automating the travel process would be made easier. This belief was reinforced when I viewed the Knowledge Navigator video that was presented by John Scully of Apple at MacWorld in 1989. I also have spoke about intelligent agents for travel in my blog post from October 2006

Technology Review (published by MIT) cites Intelligent Software Assistants being one of the major trends to watch in 2009. In that article it mentions a new Silicon Valley startup named Siri which is a spin off of research done at SRI International for the DOD.

When online travel was first introduced, the theme promoted by many OTAs was an automated travel agent. Of course this was nothing more than marketing spin as no OTA uses expert systems to enhance the travel planning and booking process. In addition firms such as Rearden Commerce, Trip Chiill and Manticpoint all have used the marketing theme of an intelligent travel assistant. I applaud their efforts, but I still believe the ultimate travel assistant that can act like the Knowledge Navigator is still unrealized and I am hopeful with firms such as Siri, true intelligent travel assistants will emerge over the next few years.

18 comments:

Jürgen said...

Norm, you may wish to have a look at French Virtuoz. The owners are former KDS, I was working closely with Alex Lebrun. We did speak about the possibilities of VR-agents years ago. And I still believe something like Second Life is the future how we use VR. I recommend Tom Clancy's Netforce (book) as another source addressing the same (very logical) idea.
Especially travel, where the existing booking tools ask structured data, why not have a VR-agent handle such requests. Speak to Richard Eastman, we had a discussion on his voice recognition solutions - combine that with Virtuoz, Second Life and ... the future is there...
Food For Thought...
Cheers - Jürgen

russelltehri said...

With the advent of the internet, travel information has been available anytime for anyone. However, there is always that risk of not knowing which ones are authentic and not.

Its still best to consult with a local travel agency. Nothing beats personal service and first hand knowledge when it comes to planning your vacation.

Russell
www.e-philippines.com.ph
explore. experience. enjoy. Philippines.

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