Teaching Technology Romance

We have discussed before how part of the downside of technology is that it doesn’t have a personal side to it. This means it cannot replace humans or can it? Technology is getting closer and closer to a personal humanistic component and Desti is using this to help people travel. Its goal to “master human-like judgment and taste.” The app allows people ask questions as if they were asking another person. The application then uses artificial intelligence technology that sort through online reviews and create personal, subjective answers in response. It looks at how people describe their travel experiences and using an algorithm it can create a subjective opinion.


If someone types “I’m looking for a romantic place in Napa to take my wife,” the app searches through reviews and can find words like fireplaces and Jacuzzis and decipher whether it is romantic or not. This is a company that is working to create software that can understand the emotion behind what humans are writing in order to get closer to understanding an implicit expression. This is taking technology and computers to a whole new level of intimacy.

This startup came from the came research institute that created SIRI. The difference though is that Desti understands words meanings rather than just recognizing the words themselves. For example to find a fun activity this is how the application started. The application began by having humans read through thousands of texts to see and explain which ones described fun activities and they told the application fun pastimes. It also has learned to trust some sources that are more credible then others. For example Living Social is a credible source.

It usually suggests activities that aren’t the typical tourist activities and it gets a commission based on an itinerary made. There are still many things that Desti cannot do and many things it doesn’t understand. Part of the reason that it works is because it is confined to a specific thing: travel. As we were discussing in relation to Google is that part of the reason that others can break into this market is because they are starting with a limited area of expertise that they can become the best at. This is like Bing breaking into Google’s market with the specialties that it uses.


The technology that it uses will start to be used in other areas for other applications and technologies. What was also explained in the article that was interesting is that the result of this technology could one day be used to interpret an email between a boyfriend and a girlfriend and decipher whether an email between the two was intentionally rude or just rushed. This reminded me of the video we watched in class. This is a very interesting technology and although it is not there yet it is giving computers a more human component.

For more information: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/desti-app_n_3155313.html?utm_hp_ref=technology


9 thoughts on “Teaching Technology Romance

  1. Very good post, this is the first time I have ever heard of Desti. The fact that technology is becoming ever more humanistic is so impressive. It reminds me of the robot on Jeopardy that was able to understand the questions being asked and come up with the correct answer nearly 100% of the time. The fact that the maker of Desti are trying to understand the emotion behind human requests is absolutely amazing. I believe Apple is trying to do something similar with Siri by giving it a face so that it can resemble facial expressions that a human would have related to his/her mood. You mention that one of the reasons that Desti actually works is because it only has to deal with one thing (travel), but I am beyond curious to find out what other capabilities Desti could have and how big of an impact it could have. I imagine that it could develop into a virtual secretary of sorts. The fact that people would use it to determine whether an email/txt was rude or rushed is also amazing because that means that technology is better at understanding human communication than humans are. Very interesting topic!

  2. Technology like this is fascinating. The fact that a computer can surf through thousands of words, results and websites and generated desirable information is incredible and revolutionary. It may change our lives. However, I think it is important to keep in mind the inability of technology to replicate humanistic traits. No matter how advanced technology becomes, a computer can never replace a human.

    It seems to me that this kind of technology will be extremely profitable. What this company has accomplished will be extremely useful. It’s amazing to see how transformed searches have become on the internet with things like Siri, Google Now and now this. (Just read a blog about Google Now; it’s competing with Siri.) It seems that we are moving in a direction where searches on the internet are more and more direct and efficient. It makes me wonder about the potentiality of this technology. Maybe one day we won’t have to ever type in a search again!

  3. Technologies are becoming more and more human. It is amazing that this travel app Desti now can even understand word’s meaning and react intelligently. However, I still think that no matter how these smart these technologies become, they can never replace a human. Technology can only assist human and maybe take over those easy jobs that don’t require a lot of humanistic traits like giving traveling advices. But, if you think more into it, actually computers can not perfectly replaces these easy jobs. For example, traveling advices, computer will never be able to tell you his own experience of the hotels or places, because it can not travel. It can only give you rating and comments from its data base.

  4. It is interesting that technologies like this are developing that can sift through reviews to find the meanings behind it, i.e. whether a place is considered a romantic destination or not. I think that understanding the meanings behind words is really impressive, and I think the Internet is definitely changing how people interact and relate to one another. I think it is interesting to bring up the Internet in regards to romance and the Internet possibly being able to decipher messages between couples. I think that is a possibility if you look at how much has changed with romantic relationships. There are statistics that 1 in 5 couples meet online, and many couples maintain long distance relationships through email, skype, and other social media sites. This type of technology that could decipher messages could be another component to the changing romantic relationships. Very interesting blog post!

  5. Everything about Desti seems really interesting! It is unbelievable that technological developers have been able to create complex algorithms to perform intricate tasks, like that of Desti. In my opinion, planning vacations can be extremely stressful, but I think Desti has the potential to reduce this stress. If Desti can make their program easy to use and a relaxing experience for their users, they have the potential to be big contenders in the field of travel planning. As it was mentioned in this post, this technology has the possibility of spreading across numerous different fields. I hope that Desti continues to just focus on travel so that they can really perfect this system and dominate their lucrative field. I think trying to spread into any other areas with their technology would be a foolish move. Nice post!

  6. Great post! I’ve never heard of Desti before, but it seems like an excellent idea providing vacationers a real human response to various locations around the world. Currently, most people who want to know the key vacation spots read other’s responses from multiple review websites. It can be tough to filter through these responses as they tend to be varied. For example, one may say “this place is romantic!” while another may say “I had the worst time of my life!”. With Desti emerging, people will be able to find credible information and human responses regarding vacation spots. Reading about this reminded me about Google and how they analyze data to provide personal advertisements. As time goes by, it’s almost as if computers are becoming more humanlike, understanding the owner of the computer, and able to provide it’s services in a more complete manner. Desti can only improve in the future!

  7. I’ve never heard of desti before but it sounds like it combines many different ideas into one. Its really cool that applications are coming out that are so comprehensive and helpful to the user. Rather than visiting 4 or 5 websites or resources when looking to schedule a vacation a user can now just go to one source. However, this application seems to rely a lot on the users preferences if you do not spend a lot of time focusing on these and making sure they are accurate as possible i feel there could be an issue. When you create your own itinerary you make sure you do things YOU want to do which is something that I don’t think can be discounted. Nice post

  8. Really interesting post! I’m curious to learn more about how Desti will manage the differences in how words can be interpreted. For example, what one person may define as romantic natural scenery can be completely unique.

  9. Great blog post. Technology continues to become more human like and this seems like the next logical step. I have never heard of this company, but it seems very cool. Being able to ask the website to find certain travel criteria and having it respond to you would be very helpful. I could see this being quickly expanded in the future to all different things being able to assist and understand what we are talking about. This is just a part of technology becoming more human like, which is both cool and scary at the same time.

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