Photo: Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

What Happens When an AI Travel Assistant Goes Wrong

Paris Technology + Gear
by Matador Creators Aug 21, 2023

Some of us watch these viral videos lauding the impressiveness of AI with a futurist’s optimism and excitement. Others watch with skepticism, and maybe a little fear. True believers say that soon enough, AI will be able to do it all in the realm of travel, possibly even take some of our jobs. Whether or not that’s true, it can be reassuring to remember that we’re not quite there yet, and that AI can make very human mistakes.

Travel influencer Michael Motamedi is using GuideGeek, Matador Network’s AI travel concierge, to plan his entire six-month trip with his family, using the app for activity, restaurant, bar, and hotel recommendations. While GuideGeek has certainly provided many useful suggestions, and brought him to some of the most interesting places in the world, that doesn’t mean mistakes aren’t possible, as Motamedi discovered in Paris.

@michaelmotamedi These four Paris cocktail bars are a must if you’re in the city. I went out looking for some classic French Cocktails and ended up having one of my favorite nights in Paris yet! Here’s where to go and in what order, trust me you won’t be disappointed: First head to The Little Red Door in the third arrondissement. Order the Olive cocktail. Get a boulevardier too (this was a GuideGeek rec and I’m so glad for it, their boulevardier is top notch). Then walk over to Candelaria. Get some tacos at the front if you’re in the mood but if you’re there for a cocktail like me, walk through the secret door at the very back of the kitchen and order a Corpse Reviver No. 2. You won’t regret it. From here, stop at Bar Nouveau. This place is owned by some of the best bartenders in the city and naturally, it’s got great cocktails. Head downstairs to see a new menu appear by black light. Make Le Syndicat your last stop. Literally get anything they recommend. And also a Wet White Shirt. If you want to make everyone laugh, tell them it’s Dmitri’s favorite. Between the bars, the cocktails and the people that run them, this was hands down my favorite night in Paris so far. #michaelmotamedi #traveltiktok #foodtiktok #paris #france #cocktails #guidegeek ♬ French scented fashionable accordion waltz(874070) – Single Origin Music

He wanted to know the top three best Parisian cocktails, and where to get them. One of the recommendations, however, a “Corpse Reviver No. 2” at a place called Candelaria, wasn’t actually Parisian at all. As Motamedi learned when he went to the bar, Corpse Reviver No. 2 is a British drink, originating in London.

“This happens sometimes with AI,” Motamedi says in the video. “It makes mistakes. This is all an experiment. For me, right now, AI is all about connecting with people.”

Indeed, AI might have messed up the Parisian drink recommendation, but it still brought Motamedi somewhere in Paris he otherwise would have never visited. Not your typical walk-in-the-front-door-and-order bar, Candelaria is only accessible by entering a taco bar, going into the kitchen, and walking through a door in the back. The memorable experience of getting to the bar alone was probably worth the mix-up.

To follow Motamedi’s AI-planned adventures, check out his show No Fixed Address, airing on GuideGeek’s Instagram.

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