Why you should treat AI like an intern

If you're using generative artificial intelligence (AI) for your business, treat it like an intern.

That's advice from Christine Vincent, business technology manager for Travelsavers and NEST, who was a guest on a recent episode of the Trade Secrets podcast. The episode was all about generative AI and how travel agencies can employ the technology.

Generative AI is the technology behind services like ChatGPT. It generates content, like text and images, after being prompted by the user. But it's not always right.

"Consider it like an intern that you have to overlook, and peek over the shoulders and make sure they're doing their tasks properly," Vincent said.

It's great advice. As a not infrequent user of OpenAI's ChatGPT and Google's Bard, I can attest to the fact that whatever it outputs needs a good edit. 

Of course, a lot of that has to do with the user's initial prompt to the AI, and subsequent tweaks. 

On the episode, my co-host, TravelAge West's Emma Weissmann, offered up a useful acronym when you're prompting generative AI to create content: CREATE. It comes from Dave Burse's LinkedIn Learning course "How to research and write using generative AI tools."

Character: Tell the AI the role you want it to play.
Request: Be specific in your request and give context.
Examples: Provide examples of similar styles of writing (this is optional)
Adjustments: Ask for adjustments to fine-tune the response.
Type of output: Tell the AI how the response should be formatted.
Extras: Anything not included in the above that would generate a high-quality response.

For example, a travel advisor might prompt: "Acting as a travel expert, write a 300-word blog post about why it's good to visit Europe in the offseason, to avoid crowds and enjoy lower prices. Write it in an informative, but engaging, style. Suggest several potential destinations and why they're better to visit in the offseason."

I asked Bard to do just that, and it provided a good framework for a post. There were some errors -- would you consider Italy's offseason May-September? -- and those would need to be edited. But the AI did point out the major benefits (fewer crowds, lower prices, better weather, more authentic experiences) and formatted the post nicely. 

It even ended with a nice call to action, "So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Europe today!" that could easily be amended to direct readers to a travel advisor's services.

And it all took less than five minutes.

For more on generative AI in the travel agency space, give the episode a listen.


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