What Exactly is a Chatbot? And Will This Benefit My Hotel?
By Adria Levtchenko CEO & Co-Founder, PurpleCloud Technologies | July 22, 2018
Certainly, for quite some time, there has been a strong technological underpinning to the management and delivery of guest services in hospitality. This includes all of the computer-controlled technologies that drive our physical plant; the communication systems we rely on to reach guests and strategic partners, or work with each other; and our revenue management and other operational systems.
Moreover, it wouldn't be out of place to note not just how reliant we seem to be on technology (try leaving home without your smartphone in hand or doing without a computer at work) but also that the "technology conversation" seems to being getting louder and louder with each passing day.
A whole new vocabulary has arisen, as we keep hearing, even if only in vague terms, about artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, blockchain and the like. The Internet of Things and The Cloud have almost become passe concepts.
Just what are some of these technologies and how might we demystify them, as we consider the future role of technology for the hospitality sector? In this article, we will consider some of the forces behind the adoption of advanced technologies by hospitality organizations; what issues they might be solving, as well as what issues they may be provoking. Clearly, there are implications for our work force, the everyday life of a hotel, strategic planning or, even, what it means to be a leader in the hospitality sector.
Interestingly, many of the concepts just mentioned have been around for quite some time. The concept of Artificial Intelligence grew out of the Dartmouth Summer Research Project in the mid-1950s, one of whose members, Arthur Samuel, is known also for coining the term "machine learning."
Broadly speaking, artificial intelligence is about having a computer complete functions such that we "might" not be able to distinguish its performance from that of a human being. Historically, the idea was to achieve the Turing Test, which would fulfill that mandate. British mathematician Alan Turing, now also famous for helping lead the Bletchley Park Enigma decoding teams during World War II, proposed this Turing Test in a 1950 academic paper. From there it was a hop, a skip and a transistor to conceiving of machines that could think on their own, and, maybe, function beyond our control like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.