Artificial Intelligence – Is it really helping us?
I was in Kolkata last week and trying to book accommodation through some new applications downloaded two days before my upcoming herculean travel plan for the next two months, visiting 9 states in 35 different locations. My logical mind told me to book at the last moment after 6 pm as chances are high to get some good deals towards the end of the day. Thinking that I am a smart traveler now, I forgot discounting my intelligence over AI. The idea of android based applications to me till that moment was to help the user in getting better offers, save time and give more useful information with ease of navigation throughout the whole process engagement.
The day was different, I was in competition with an advanced version of income-generating or I should say profit-maximizing techniques enabled with the latest technological interface.
I landed at Kolkata airport, around 5:30 pm and started looking for options in and around central Kolkata and near the airport. The system intelligently picked up some recommendations from my last visits to other cities and the range and facilities I look for in any hotel, I was happy as it saved a lot of my time. I chose one of those recommended options, and then started reading about the reviews before final booking; reviews were really bad, and hence I aborted my booking. I opened another application, set the filters and started browsing; picked up some options and again started reading reviews, screened three options out of all.
Somehow, I felt through pics and location that these hotels are a bit pricy and decided to look at the website directly. A usual search engine-based filters showed me the same hotel at a lower price, on the top of that, those prices were less from the same service providers of which I was using the android applications. I thought of booking a hotel through the website, rather than using an application; to my surprise, my next click raised the price and made it equivalent to the cost shown on the application. I tried again and failed.
Unhappily out of sheer anger and tough competition to my intelligence I uninstalled all those applications downloaded two days back. Again, tried booking directly through the website, and it was done; the prices were 30% less than the price shown on the application.
The question here is, who is the ultimate beneficiary of AI? Who is gaining out of it? Who is paying for it? I was a loser that day but learned new thing that depending on these applications can be dangerous to us. I checked the same for the local transport system, food, and so on; everywhere an individual who pays is at risk. And there is no government law to support consumers of these services nor there is an upper cap of profits on these so-called service providers.
Actually, we are paying more for certain things and services, the internet-based accumulators and the actual service providers have joined hands to fleece their customers.