Travelocity Proves Fears Of Robots Taking Our Jobs Are Unfounded

Jessica Langer shared her ‘earliest internet memory’ in response to someone’s silly question on twitter. It was a slow effort as her father tried to book a flight using Travelocity when she was really young. Langer was offering a genuine recollection, that wasn’t likely to garner much attention, except a Travelocity customer service bot decided to respond.

Travelocity’s social listening software saw that they were mentioned, and reached out to the customer.

The first two things many brands do on Twitter are,

  1. Assume that any mention is negative
  2. Try to get the person to ‘take it to DM’ immediately, to stop the complaining in public.

However people keep replying to Travelocity missing the point, and Travelocity keeps replying that they should take it to DM. And then we get into an infinite loop.

My take is that the bots really aren’t ready to replace humans. A parallel take on twitter was that when the robots come for us, the Travelocity Ai implementation is so bad it’ll be a back door we can use to destroy them all.

Basically the Travelocity twitter account is like the Death Star’s exhaust port, or the vulnerability exploited in the final battle scene of Independence Day.

As bad as Travelocity’s twitter customer service appears to be (rivaling its telephone customer service!) they can take solace in knowing they’re not as bad an Amtrak.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. “Try to get the person to ‘take it to DM’ immediately, to stop the complaining in public.”

    Hasn’t it been pretty well-established that these larger brands have CRM software that automatically logs a customer complaint from DMs? They are asking for a DM so they can officially start logging and tracking the issue.

  2. I work with some of this stuff in my day job, and AI is nowhere near replacing a human. AI requires more “training data” than likely exists. Twitter complicates things because “Twitter English” is its own language, so AI models for Twitter need to be trained on Twitter.

    And AI is nowhere near being able to understand nuance or complex thought.

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