Canada's Condominium Magazine
Maybe it’s easier to predict the future today than it was years ago. We already have a lot of stuff that no futurist ever dreamed of, though they tend to be more mundane things like smart phones and virtual reality glasses. On the other hand, science fiction writers of the past have often got things wrong. We should be routinely traveling among the stars and visiting other inhabited planets by now, if Arthur C Clarke had been right in his 1948 story “The Sentinel,” which became the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. We don’t have time machines, we can’t beam each other up (Scotty), and we can’t travel at “warp speed,” whatever that is. But one futurist thinks he knows what one aspect of future life will be like: hotels.
Forget about that guy from Trivago who has become the voice of mere hotel selection in our day. Dr. James Canton of the Institute for Global Futures sees how it will be as far ahead as 2060. He describes his vision in a report done for Hotels.com.
In fact, most of what Canton envisions is based on technology and concepts that are already familiar. RoboButlers, for example. These are described as autonomous robots programmed with special talents, skills, languages and information. They will greet guests at the airport, offer advice on food and entertainment, provide companionship and do everything a real butler would do. It’s not too much of a stretch to picture all of that.
More unusual and difficult to get one’s head around is the concept of the “morphing hotel” depicted in the image at the top of this page. Canton says these crowdsourced hotels will self-assemble and morph from one design to another depending on consumers’ votes, using nanotechnology and machines capable of self-assembly. We could see this in the next twenty years.
One future feature that looks very practical is the presence in every room of a 3D printer, or maker. Guests won’t have to bring things like shoes and computers and phones; the 3D printer will make them on command, in real time. And that goes for retail items downloaded from the cloud.
The emergence of a new travel design science, which is a combination of using big data, artificial intelligence and predicting travelers’ dreams, will mean the whole travel experience will change . . . as we’ll see predictive travel analytics anticipating what consumers want from their experience before booking. The hotel booking itself will be helped along by artificial intelligence software agents, using data mining and intuitive computing. The new travel design science will help create highly personalised in-stay experiences. And it doesn’t end when you check out, because new analytics will also ensure lifelong travel fulfillment.
Paying for things like hotel bookings will be done using DNA fingerprints. The booking itself will be handled by one’s own personal travel avatar, compared to a personal version of Apple’s Siri. Avatars will do the legwork and design the whole travel experience if we wish. DNA analysis will also be used to custom design each individual guest’s optimal diet and nutrition menu for his stay at the hotel of the future, as well as health enhancement programs involving genetic medicine treatments, mind refreshing drugs, and brain fitness.
Augmented reality will play a role in the hotel experience as well. The physical hotel may be in London or Amsterdam, but guests will be able to take customized excursions to Africa or anywhere else they fancy via augmented reality.
Hotel rooms will, of course, be “smart.” Face recognition security, sensors everywhere to pick up on guests’ moods and wishes, interactive touchscreens, talk-back TV, self-adjusting wireless temperature controls, self-assembling beds and personalised in-room experiences like holographic entertainment will all be there for the pleasure of the guest.
At bedtime, guests will even be able to choose what they want to dream about. Neurotechnology will allow us to program our dreams, giving us options like learning something while we sleep, relaxing or just enjoying the fantasy.
All in all, we are about to witness, and enjoy, the emergence of a new “travel design science,” Canton said in a statement. It will combine big data, artificial intelligence and “predictive analytics” that will anticipate what travellers want even before they book. Even more impressive, new analytics will ensure “lifelong travel fulfillment.”
Match that, Trivago guy.
All images are from Hotels.com.