[Fox Business] Airbnb acquires GamePlanner.AI startup led by Siri co-founder

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Airbnb has announced the purchase of startup GamePlanner.AI as CEO Brian Chesky is vowing that artificial intelligence will “rapidly alter our world more than any other technology in our lifetime.” 

GamePlanner.AI, a 12-person company that Airbnb says is operating in a “stealth” mode, is led by Adam Cheyer – one of the co-founders of Siri, which was acquired by Apple – and Siamak Hodjat.

“What makes GamePlanner.AI so special is that they combine expertise in AI, design, and community,” Chesky said in a statement. 

“AI will rapidly alter our world more than any other technology in our lifetime, but we need to ensure that it augments humanity in a positive way,” he continued. “Airbnb is one of the more humanistic companies in technology, and I believe that, together with Adam and his team, we can develop some of the best interfaces and practical applications for AI.” 

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Airbnb says while it is “already using AI across our service, including large language models, computer vision models and machine learning — and most recently, an AI-powered Photo Tour tool launched in our 2023 Winter Release — Adam and Siamak’s team will focus on accelerating select AI projects and integrating their tools into our platform.” 

The cost of the acquisition is not immediately clear. It comes after Chesky told reporters in New York City last week that hotels are not going to be different five years from now because of AI, but that Airbnb “will be transformed.”

Chesky said the technology will enhance Airbnb’s customer service, which he admitted is a pain point for the company, given that there are 70 major policies a customer agent might have to read through when an issue arises and that each of them can be 100 pages long with all the different constituencies.

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AI has the ability to read the corpus of all of its policies and understand the history behind 1.7 billion reservations as well as how prior issues were resolved, he said. 

Chesky said this will not replace agents, but assist them in offering 24/7 support. Agents will then provide more bespoke services.

He also believes the technology will help personalize the search process even more to help match users with their ideal home and experience. He likened it to having a personal travel agent. 

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Airbnb says after Cheyer co-founded Siri, he later co-created Viv Labs, which was acquired by Samsung and is now referred to as that company’s voice assistant, Bixby. Hodjat also worked with Cheyer in the natural language processing team for Siri and led the engineering team at Viv Labs, Airbnb adds. 

FOX Business’ Daniella Genovese contributed to this report. 

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