Ubiquitous Technology and Beneficial Intelligence: Tech That Helps Shoppers Be Better Superheroes
In the past decade, we've become superheroes — all-seeing and all-knowing in a way no previous generation could have imagined. We know intimate details of the lives of people we haven't spoken to in decades; we can go to any hotspot and watch a livestream of our pet or child at home; we can answer any question about anything from anywhere.
But our powers come with a price: We're drowning in the Ubitech — the ubiquitous technology — around us.
As I write this, I have 15,049 unread messages in my personal email … just in the "promotions/ads" subfolder (and that's after going through two spam filters). At least a third of the messages are travel-related. This pent-up demand for my attention exerts a continual low-grade angst, coupled with the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) of analysis paralysis: With limitless information and infinite choice, how do I divvy up my finite time?
Of course, infinite choice is an illusion: with finite time, we make the best decisions we can, always wondering what "better" things we're missing. The superpower we need most is super-filters — super limits — to help us engage the world. One hope on the horizon is that future iterations of artificial intelligence will be beneficial intelligence, becoming the filters we need to engage an increasingly complex world in simpler terms.
Most of the world's largest technology companies are working on artificial intelligence engines with a basic underlying goal: make life easier for humans. One important way AI can further that goal is by distilling a virtually infinite amount of information down to the details a human actually needs at a particular place and time.
So, what does beneficial intelligence look like in the hospitality space?
These are early steps in considering the countless ways beneficial intelligence can provide value, but the space is still in its infancy. I'm hoping beneficial intelligence will even benefit my email — it should know that after I've booked a flight and hotel for St. Croix, it can safely delete the 5,000 other emails offering me "limited-time specials" for various destinations. And it should keep deleting special offers until I've accrued enough vacation days to even think about another trip!
Today we have the paralysis of infinite choice: tomorrow we may have beneficial intelligence putting dynamic, personalized super-filters in place, so we can make faster, more informed choices. I'm hopeful for a future where Ubitech goes from foreground to background to make our increasingly complex, increasingly connected world easier and easier to navigate.
To learn more about the applications of beneficial intelligence, check out Sabre's new report, Consumer Mega-Trends Impacting Hospitality in 2016, which explores Ubitech and five other emerging trends to help hoteliers understand how they can leverage trends and exceed customer expectations in the months and years ahead.