Sat. May 27th, 2023

I recently listened to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman talk for 45 minutes about ChatGPT and the future of AI at a conference in San Francisco.

Here are my top 10 takeaways:

1). The interface is just as important as the underlying technology.

Natural language allows us to convey very complex concepts, and ChatGPT gives us the ability to communicate in very complex ways directly with machines, Sam said.

I think this is what is causing a lot of us to be so impressed over the last couple months with ChatGPT. It’s not just the answers it gives, but the way we can interact with it.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a powerful new way to effectively communicate with technology like this, and we’re just starting to see the opportunities that are opening up.

2). Timing is everything.

Chatbots were big in 2017 and it was right in terms of what people wanted, but the underlying technology wasn’t there.

3). We need to be careful with consumer-facing applications.

We are very forgiving of other humans making mistakes, but have extremely little patience for computers making mistakes.

This is what I’m hearing in in conversations with people like Scott Curran at Reneson Hotels who is using technology and AI to empower his staff, but making sure that his staff are the ones that are interacting with guests.

I think we’re going to see that for quite some time. We want to be really careful about the customer experience in hospitality – and that means maintaining a very high bar for quality on all guest touchpoints.

4). New problems need fresh perspectives.

When asked about how to operate a business in new and quickly-changing environments, Sam said, People tend to bring too many of their past experiences to new problems. We need to bring fresh eyes to new problems.

This could be an opportunity for those in hospitality to recruit others from outside the industry in.

5).”The idea that people could work remotely forever was one of tech’s biggest mistakes.”

In Sam’s words, That experiment is over.

Over the past few years, many techology companies got a lot of attention for encouraging their staff to work in a distributed way. Maybe that’s not working anymore. This is something to track, especially for those providing hospitality. I think what Sam is getting at is the importance of gathering people together, which of course is good news for those that provide spaces to enable that gathering.

6). The best opportunities in AI are in creating new interface models for existing work.

Co-pilots seem like the easy win across industries.

There’s been a lot of talk about AI co-pilots for things like software programming, but I’ve also heard about this in the hospitality context for people in service centers or call centers. I believe it’s a big area to track.

7). Fintech remains a huge area of opportunity

If you can take friction out of payments it unlocks tremendous growth in the economy.

This is especially true in hospitality. Think about that frictionless experience that we all want as we travel. Our tolerance for hassle when we pay keeps dropping as time goes on and we see better ways of transacting.

8). APIs are the future

Our vision for the future is based on APIs that are simple and stable and lifts up the whole internet and our collective intelligence.

The last bit of that seemed a little grandiose to me, but everything I’ve seen over my technology career is the more connectivity we have, the better it is for everybody within the hospitality ecosystem.

9). Get started with AI now – even if your company isn’t

We see a huge divergence in productivity between people at companies that embrace AI and those who don’t, Sam said. Whether your business is doing anything with AI or not, you can certainly figure out how it impacts your work.

10). We need to treat AI seriously

We have to treat this with extreme seriousness and there is a legitimate existential risk here. [Artificial general intelligence] is just different than anything we’ve seen before. A remarkable statement from the CEO of one of the leading AI companies!

Artificial intelligence is developing so quickly that breakthroughs are happening each week now, instead of over months or years as in previous technology innovation cycles. In order to reach our goals and maintaining thriving hospitality businesses, I encourage you to focus on learning as much as you can about this technology and how it can and should be used in your organization.

Stay informed with Josiah on the Hospitality Daily Podcast. For more on AI, read AI for Hotels: A Guide to Artificial Intelligence for Hospitality Leaders and view Hospitality Net’s expert viewpoints here.

By Editor