Japan Airlines and Accenture to trial AI-based service for passengers
The new service will be initially implamented at Narita and Haneda airports in Tokyo
Japan Airlines is working with Accenture on a new service that uses artificial intelligence to answer passenger requests at the airline’s check-in counters.
The service assesses what check-in counter agents are saying to passengers and then pushes relevant information to the agents’ tablets in near real-time, which includes additional relevant information tailored to the individual’s journey.
JAL and Accenture said they are currently piloting the AI-enhanced service at its international check-in counters at Narita Airport and Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
The two companies highlighted that the new service uses AI applications, including voice recognition, to identify and interpret statements made by the agents, so it can retrieve data from JAL’s knowledge database or website to answer passenger queries.
“For passengers, the service is designed to speed up the check-in process and also make the time they spend at the airport less stressful. This supports the airline’s goal to create new value for customers and remain one step ahead of its competitors,” the companies said in a statement. “For employees, the service will offer a seamless check-in process that previously involved a variety of operating systems and printed documents to answer inquiries like baggage pickup for connecting international flights, seat upgrade requests, and the location of an airport lounge at the destination.”
The pilot program runs on an AI platform that combines various AI engines, business processes, and data sources as a hub to generate and continuously improve responses.
To create the platform, Accenture said that it drew on AI capabilities from its Accenture Applied Intelligence as well as agile project development methods and airline expertise from its travel consulting group.
OpenAI launches for-profit unit
In related news, OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence research group, is starting a for-profit arm.
OpenAI said in a blog post that the new for-profit arm is needed to attract venture capital and reward employees with stock options. OpenAI was founded as a nonprofit company in 2015.
“We’ll need to invest billions of dollars in upcoming years into large-scale cloud compute, attracting and retaining talented people, and building AI supercomputers,” OpenAI said. “We want to increase our ability to raise capital while still serving our mission, and no pre-existing legal structure we know of strikes the right balance. Our solution is to create OpenAI LP as a hybrid of a for-profit and nonprofit—which we are calling a ‘capped-profit’ company.”
OpenAI LP currently employs around 100 people organized into three main areas: capabilities (advancing what AI systems can do), safety (ensuring those systems are aligned with human values), and policy (ensuring appropriate governance for such systems).