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How AI Will Shape the Future of Travel, With Matador Network CEO Ross Borden

Technology + Gear
by Eben Diskin Mar 13, 2023

Depending on who you talk to, the advent of artificial intelligence is either scary or exciting (or both). While AI certainly has the potential to make some human workers obsolete – a frightening prospect – it can also open up new opportunities for creativity across all industries. Travel is one of those industries. Efficient AI won’t take over airport security checks anytime soon, and your planes will still be flown by human pilots, but AI is poised to revolutionize the world of travel, changing how we choose our destinations and interact with those destinations.

Ross Borden, founder and CEO of Matador Network, spoke with the No Blackout Dates podcast about the rapid rise of artificial intelligence, and how it might shape the future of travel. Ross discusses the benefits AI can bring to the travel space, as well as where the technology currently falls short. According to Ross, AI will become ubiquitous in most aspects of our everyday lives – so we should probably get used to it.

“This next wave of AI will be impossible to avoid, it will be impossible to ignore,” Borden says. “Content that we read or watch will be partially or completely created by AI. Video that we watch, even Hollywood movies in the coming years will be created by AI. All kinds of stuff that we are consuming, interacting with…it will be hard to avoid.”

It sounds scary at first, especially with internet deep fakes threatening to make, “what’s real, and what isn’t?” a common question in our daily lives. But with great power comes great responsibility, and in this case, that means using AI to complement and inspire human creativity, rather than replace it.

Indeed, at Matador Network, AI isn’t a replacement for human thought or opinion – it’s a tool travelers can (and should) use to augment their knowledge. That’s the driving ethos behind GuideGeek, an AI-assisted WhatsApp that acts as a travel concierge. GuideGeek draws from a broad knowledge database to keep travelers in-the-know about all things travel. That means how to get from point A to point B, the best parks for hiking, trendiest bars, prettiest beaches, tips for family travel, the ins and outs of navigating visa requirements, and literally any other travel-related questions you can think of. It won’t replace the personal touch of your friends and family’s recommendations, but it will take the stress out of trip planning, and make it easier to be nimble and spontaneous on the trip itself.

“Instead of doing massive research on Google or searching for Airbnbs, you just ask GuideGeek simple or detailed questions,” he says. “Like ‘if I’m staying in East London with my family and want to eat at this budget level, or do these activities, give me an itinerary’ it can save you a massive amount of time…so it’s good for the planner as well as the spontaneous traveler.”

GuideGeek is available online, or via WhatsApp.

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