How AI can help you vacation better
Now that it's the end of summer, it's time to start thinking about the next vacation.
A weekly newsletter that highlights new and innovative AI products that are worth exploring.
For those of you in the U.S., enjoy your extended weekend holiday. We certainly need it. Recently, my spouse Jody recommended a Planet Money podcast episode to me about why Europe gets more vacation time than the U.S. As an American, it was both interesting and depressing to listen to. As a result, this week I’m giving the newsletter a theme: vacation vibes. So grab yourself a Negroni, put on some Washed Out, and let’s dive in. In this week’s issue:
TripAdvisor’s AI travel planner is surprisingly good
How runner up - iplan.ai - can improve their app
A financial planner that will help you save for vacations
Your personal language tutor is named TalkBerry
Plus, a recommended read from a CN Traveler writer that used ChatGPT to plan their vacation
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
After testing dozens of travel related AI products this week. Here’s my top pick.
TripAdvisor AI: Build a trip in minutes
I tried several AI trip planners from both big players and small startups, but all of them were pretty uninspiring. They quickly jumped to recommendations without getting much context from me and presented them as a wall of text in the chat. It felt like something akin to walking into a travel agency in the pre-internet days, having them hurriedly ask you what city you wanted to visit and then proceed to yell recommendations at you without pause. No thanks.
TripAdvisor's AI itinerary planner stands out in a few key ways. Firstly, it offers a full-screen, immersive experience that allows for more detailed planning. Before diving in, it asks a lot of questions about travel plans, such as whether you're traveling alone or with family and whether you're interested in museums or food. It also asks how many days would be ideal for the trip.
Based on the responses, the AI outlines a 3-day trip, with details on the left and an interactive map on the right. This allows for an overview of the itinerary before diving into specifics at your leisure. The recommendations were good and, while there is some overlap with other apps, TripAdvisor surfaced some hidden gems that are really cool.
To access the AI itinerary planner, simply visit TripAdvisor on desktop and click the "Start a trip with AI" button located below the search box.:
Three more AI products that are worth your time.
iplan.ai: Your smart travel planner. The iplan.ai produced an itinerary of a similar quality to TripAdvisors. They asked a lot of useful questions up front about my preferences and budget and overall the UX of the app is high quality. That being said, the app has some shortcomings. Firstly, it's only available on iOS and Android, which means navigating a somewhat complex itinerary on a small screen. However, I found the map view to be useful. The other area where it falls short is the information about each item on the itinerary. The descriptions are only a sentence or two long, which doesn't always provide enough information to decide whether to include the item.
What I would love to see is the ability to swipe left on a restaurant or activity and have an AI-recommended replacement added. The app offers the ability to add a restaurant or activity to the day at the bottom. However, it's unclear if these recommendations are AI-curated in any way. At first glance, they feel generic and not tailored to what's already on that day's itinerary. P.S. a one-time fee of $3.99 is required to unlock the AI planner.
Parthean: A financial expert in your pocket. By integrating AI with your personal financial information, Parthean AI can answer specific questions about your finances, from spending capabilities on a trip to retirement plans. You can use this financial assistant to get closer to that once in a lifetime big globetrotting trip or figure out a way to become a digital nomad and travel on a shoe string…or somewhere in between. Notably, Parthean AI values transparency and explains its rationale behind the advice given, providing full breakdowns and even citations for you to understand the complete financial picture.
TalkBerry: Your personal language tutor. I’ve always struggled to learn a new language and tried a bunch of different apps, but nothing is as good as going to a country and being immersed in the language. TalkBerry feels like the next best thing. Pick a language and a situation (eg. sitting at a bar or visiting the grocery store) and begin chatting with the AI language tutor that sounds very realistic. This tool is better suited for those who already know the basics and want to improve conversational skills. Stick with Duolingo for the grammar basics.
OTHER AI THINGS HAPPENED
Some other notable news and product launches from this week
OpenAI is launching “ChatGPT Enterprise” which offers enterprise-grade security and privacy, unlimited higher-speed GPT-4 access, longer context windows for processing longer inputs, advanced data analysis capabilities, customization options, and more.
Duet AI for Google Workspace is now “generally available”…although you still have to request a trial of it so tbh it doesn’t seem generally available to me. Duet AI integrates an AI assistant into all of the Google’s productivity apps. I’m very curious to see how this impacts the ecosystem of 3rd party plugins.
Mark Zuckerberg, Sam Altman, Satya Nadella, Eric Schmidt, Sunday Pichai, and Elon Musk will attend Senator Chuck Schumer’s first “Insight Forum” about AI at the Senator’s office next week. Discussions will inform Schumer’s framework for AI regulation.
Kraftul, a copilot for product builders that I’ve featured in the past, has emerged from the beta. Their product offers a comprehensive solution for innovated product teams that want to leverage AI to build better.
Ideogram, a new generative AI startup founded by former Google Brain researchers may have finally solved a problem that plagues other AI image generators: creating reliable text within the image. Midjourney (the leader in image generation) is abysmal at writing words within an image. Check out some of the examples from the VentureBeat article:
WHAT I'M READING
If you only read one thing this week let it be this.
I Let ChatGPT Plan My Vacation—Here’s What It Got Right and Oh-So Wrong by Ashlea Halpern
"There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over the socioethical implications of artificial intelligence. Though AI has stoked public curiosity for ages, it wasn’t until the release of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence language model designed by the San Francisco-based research lab OpenAI, that everyone from statisticians to surgeons started questioning their job security. GPT-3, the newest and most ambitious version of the chatbot, has demonstrated an uncannily human ability to answer questions in a conversational way. The more you engage with it, the more it personalizes its responses. Leaders in the hospitality and tourism sector have taken notice, as this will inevitably impact trip planning, language translation, and more..." CN TRAVELER
Until next week!
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