In 2014, Airbnb introduced a machine learning AI system and has spent the last few years developing its ability to personalize search results, reports Venture Beat. The company also offers predictive pricing algorithms for hosts.
- The true achievement of the AI system is not its immediate analyses and predictions but rather its ability to foster personal connections between hosts and users and improve offline experiences, according to Mike Curtis, VP of engineering at Airbnb, who spoke with Venture Beat. These sentiments reflect CEO Brian Chesky’s pledge in March to maintaining Airbnb’s 'human community' alongside the company’s technological innovations.
In July, Airbnb lost a bidding war for artificial intelligence startup Ozlo to Facebook, according to The Information. Ozlo built a system that analyzed preferences for restaurants based on conversations and offered virtual assistance.
For companies looking to stay ahead or even keep pace with modern tech, AI is not just a trend. The AI industry is projected to reach $37 billion by 2025, and by 2018, 6 billion devices will use AI systems.
A few years ago, Airbnb and Facebook competing for the same startup may have seemed unusual, but AI applications for understanding users and customers today extend across industries. From Intel to Microsoft to Apple, nearly every tech giant is devoting research and resources to the field.
Airbnb's forays into AI and attempts to build out high-level tech from within demonstrate the importance of tech for successful modern companies. Large enterprises such as Airbnb are simultaneously becoming tech companies in and of themselves as they seek in-house solutions over third-party applications.
Airbnb is also looking to improve its tech from the bottom up. The company developed Data University, a data science training program, for its employees to continually learn new skills tailored to Airbnb’s systems.