One of the hottest topics in the world of technology right now is the rapid rise of generative AI (with ChatGPT being the example that everyone is suddenly talking about).

But even the experts aren’t sure whether it really threatens our future with the likes of Sam Altman, head of OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT, saying he’s a “little bit scared” of the technology, which, in the worst-case scenario could mean “lights out for all of us”; and the “godfather of AI” Geoffrey Hinton, standing down from his role at Google so that he can warn about the technology’s dangers.

But is generative AI really something to be so afraid of? Has a ‘monster’ been unleashed? Or will the benefits outweigh the pitfalls?

In my opinion the benefits of this breakthrough technology could be immense. It certainly isn’t going to lead to the end of mankind (that’s the stuff of sci-fi films) But first and foremost there need to be controls in place and clear visibility of what generative AI is used for, and equally what it should not be used for.

Assuming governments and creators agree on the framework for those controls and put them in place soon, let’s focus instead on the positives that generative AI can bring to the business travel tech space.

I remember sitting in an IATA meeting in Geneva back in 2019 when all the airlines were extolling the virtues of NDC. But the travel buyer in the room, whilst agreeing NDC was a great concept, pointed out the missing link – that there was no way benchmark the service and fares the corporate is getting when pricing becomes so fluid. I predict that generative AI will change that.

AI will be used increasingly for the analysis of MI and data to help travel buyers understand how their money is being spent. AI will be able to make sense of spending patterns, pricing, advance purchase patterns, et al and draw like for like comparisons (even when the two ‘apples’ look and smell like apples, but they are a different colour). A human being would not be able to analyse all those swathes of data, let alone create a narrative around it. AI on the other hand will come into its own on that front. And that has to be good news for travel managers.

More news from TripStax