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