Instead of entering a hotel search and receiving a page with hundreds of options, new data-driven travel agents—using humans, AI or both—are tailoring options based on a traveler’s personal preferences. These new agents use chatbots or messaging to communicate with travel bookers. Elaine Glusac, writing at The New York Times, offers these examples of data-driven travel planners.
Pana caters to frequent travelers. For a monthly fee, Pana is available 24 hours. It uses member profiles and past trips to funnel travel requests to human agents.
Mezi uses chatbots to handle travel booking. If a complicated issue arises then humans get involved; afterward they train the bots to handle it in the future. The more you book with Mezi, the more it learns about your preferences.
Savanti Travel helps frequent travelers cut costs while gaining status with travel companies. It doesn’t operate on commission to avoid the urge to find more expensive bookings.
Hello Hipmunk is a travel-planning messaging system. It runs through Facebook Messenger, Skype or Slack, and lets you topic hop as if you were talking to a human. It can offer tips such as on the cheapest times to travel.
Flightfox specializes in complicated itineraries. The service books flights only; for a fee, agents find the best prices and send you links so you can do the booking yourself. It also uses points systems to find the best deals.
The World Health Organization has delivered more than a million doses of antibiotics to Madagascar amid a raging epidemic of plague in which at least 33 people have died and 230 others have been infected, the BBC reported.
The first confirmed death from the epidemic began on August 28th in the town of Moramanga,.“Plague is curable if detected in time. Plague first arrived in Madagascar from Indian steamboats in 1898 before spreading through other harbors and then into the mainland along railroad construction lines.
An independent panel pulled together by the Australian government released a report this week trying to hash out the difficulties that governing bodies will face in rewriting laws for humans engaging self-driving systems. That panel, called the National Transport Commission (NTC), wants to develop a clear set of laws by 2020, and its paper (PDF) solicited feedback from key industry players as the panel moves forward.
Though it may seem obvious that a drunk person should be allowed to be taxied home by a fully autonomous car, the question is less clear if you have to determine just how autonomous an autonomous vehicle needs to be for a drunk person to operate it. The government should want drunk people to engage a high-level autonomous driving system if the alternative is driving themselves home, but if they’ll be penalized for being drunk while they’re “in control” of an autonomous vehicle, uptake of self-driving systems may be slow.
Instead, the NTC argues, drunk driving offenses should only apply to drunk people who are manually operating their vehicles but not to people who have merely started an autonomous car. The present rules “exist because a person who starts or sets in motion a conventional vehicle while under the influence clearly has an intention to drive,” the NTC writes.
The questions are being raised in the US, too. At the Governors’ Highway Safety Association meeting this week, US authorities discussed open container laws in autonomous vehicles. Currently, it’s illegal to have an open alcohol container in a car while you’re driving US roads. But should that apply in fully autonomous systems where no one is driving?
Who makes these rules and enforces them is its own debate in the US, too, with the Trump administration largely calling for a continuation of the Obama administration’s “light regulatory touch” philosophy when it comes to automakers building self-driving cars. In Congress, the House passed a bill last month directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to adopt some guidelines for self-driving cars analogous to its regulation of manually driven cars.