Is forming a sightseeing industry DAO the only solution to AI centralisation?

January 25th, 2023

by Alex Bainbridge

Generative AI such as ChatGPT is an era defining technology and it merits the number of articles and videos created on this topic.

However we are ignoring one core debate, we need to talk about what happens when this and related AI technologies scale, which they will. This article focusses on this important topic with a focus on the centralisation impact.

Scaling is imminent

In the coming 3-24 months (EU & North America) we will have:

  • The company that provides the primary source of travel industry B2C direct web traffic operating their own AI powered sightseeing vehicles in multiple US cities (Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco)
  • The largest ecommerce retailer operating their own AI powered sightseeing vehicles in multiple US cities (Las Vegas, Seattle)
  • While the company that is funding ChatGPT and other OpenAI projects is already invested in a company that is operating their own AI powered sightseeing vehicles, and already available in 3+ US cities (San Francisco, Austin & Phoenix)

I am of course talking about Google (Waymo), Amazon (Zoox) and Microsoft (Cruise).

What about tourism experiences?

Talked about this so much on this blog, so I will just bring your attention to two videos:

The first from BMW shows their in car digital experience vision.

What will happen when these cars, and cars like them, are autonomous and available for short term hire from every leading local hotel? Look out for how they explain their vision on how to deliver emotional experiences using AI, yes even Arnie gets in on the debate:

This older video from Hyundai is my favourite demonstration of how an AI enabled tourism vision comes together with multiple forms of transport and services. This is the closest to what we are doing with Autoura:

Centralisation challenges

The fundamental pressure is that AI acts as a powerful centralisation force. These are single entity mobility platform solutions from the worlds largest digital companies and are not setup as ground-up collaborative projects on the service side. They are not bringing the existing travel industry with them as they build up their tourist facing capabilities.

If we stay fragmented as a tourism sector, the mobility platforms (and those controlling the Large Language Model AIs) will end up with all the power.

If we defragment through further reservation system adoption, we will spend the next few years focussed on that rather than the transition to AI enabled tourism.

Is there a way to defragment without the overhead of pushing reservation system technologies to companies who plainly don’t want them (otherwise they would have adopted reztech already)?

How do you defragment without destroying what makes tourism so unique – we don’t want global tour operator chains like what happened to hamburgers, we want to empower locals to make decisions for their localities and keep revenue local to them. How do we do this within an AI enabled future world where everything becomes centralised around a few digital platforms?

Could a DAO help?

DAOs, or digitally enabled Decentralised Autonomous Organisations, were very 2022.

They enable companies and individuals to work together for the common good. For example two competitors in a location sharing the same marketing service. Each company benefits from the marketing more than what they would have achieved by themselves.

The DAO acts as the referee, ensuing that even competitors can work together as each trusts the digital DAO to ensure compliance with the agreed rules.

Imagine a DAO that brought together every player in a city, region or more widely.

That DAO could collaborate with the mobility & AI platforms and act a stabilising force to prevent over centralisation as a result of AI. Fragmentation becomes a feature rather than a bug.

Any other ideas for how we prevent over centralisation as a result of AI?


Image: Dall-E AI

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