According to a new report, 32% will use the AI model, ChatGPT, to plan travel despite inaccuracies and vaguery.
A new report furnished by Longwoods International, a travel research firm, indicates that 32% of Americans intend to use Generative AI platforms to help them plan their travels.
“According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travelers, 32% of them are likely to use Chat GPT as a tool for planning their next trip. Chat GPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot technology developed by research company Open AI. In contrast, 27% of respondents were not aware of Chat GPT.” – Longwoods
As Forbes points out, this is not a great idea as others have evaluated the option and suggested against it.
“Over the past few months, hordes of folks have attempted to plan a trip using ChatGPT, often with less-than-stellar results. CNBC’s travel editor caught it dishing up factually incorrect information, while one Conde Nast Traveler writer found “the buzzy chatbot’s lack of specificity—and factual errors—can be exhausting when it comes to travel recommendations.” – Forbes
I have discussed AI and its uses before on this site and why travelers should not be making decisions based on the data, even the latest version of the AI chatbots.
One interesting note from the Forbes article above is that Google Flights (not necessarily Google Bard, the large language modeling tool it has released) has been utilizing AI predictive data for years. This is how Google estimates price changes that haven’t happened yet.
For Those That Remain Unaware
A shocking 27% are unaware of the advancements of AI and its uses. For those that find themselves in this camp, here’s a quick background.
ChatGPT is an online chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate with users and provide helpful responses to their inquiries. AI is a technology that enables machines to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence, such as learning, problem-solving, and decision-making.
The latest version, GPT-4, models more than just chat. It can answer questions (even the free version of ChatGPT is incredibly useful) and can be fine-tuned to answer questions or find information in a specific data set.
The most important thing to know is that AI systems take a long time to crawl the web and an incredible amount of power. As such, AI tools such as GPT do not have access to current information but rather only the information available when it last crawled the web. In the case of GPT (which powers Microsoft’s Bing chat) the last crawl was completed in September of 2021, though not all information used is from that latest date.
An Encouraging Cohort
Some 41% of those who responded indicated that they do not intend to use GPT to help plan travel. At this stage, this is the right approach because a tool doesn’t yet exist that incorporates current pricing, open hours, and access rules for those wishing to take action on the information. When that changes, it could be a huge advantage for both travelers and the company that figure out how to execute effectively.
The tool feels like a search engine but in reality is simply a natural language tool that is mimicking and repeating elements of what it has read. Elon Musk originally funded OpenAI with $100 million but has since started his own AI business all while discussing the dangers of using it.
The question for the 41% who said they actively will not use AI tools to plan travel is why they won’t. Is it the inaccuracies I outlined (and the other travel writers)? Is it because they have tried the tool and it doesn’t deliver the results they are seeking? Or is it because they are fearful of tools like this one altogether? The data isn’t clear, however, given that they are aware of the product and have actively stated they won’t use it, perhaps this is encouraging that these American travelers are being mindful of what the tool can and cannot do.
Despite numerous inaccuracies, the ability to hallucinate (form answers that sound persuasive but are imagined), and dated information a staggering 32% of American travelers have indicated they plan to use GPT to assist them with travel planning. While this number seems high, I am encouraged by the 41% who have indicated they will not use the tool for this function.
What do you think?