Orlando’s new tourism app packs a digital assistant powered by IBM’s Watson AI

A new app uses the power of IBM’s Jeopardy-winning Watson AI to guide you around Orlando — bringing you customized recommendations for all the city’s magic.

The app, from the city’s tourism board and currently in public beta, learns from your interactions, allowing you to input text or speech search requests. The results are crowdsourced from a number of travel resources, such as TripAdvisor. The more you use the app, the more Watson will cater the recommendations to your preferences.

A promotional video marking the launch of the Visit Orlando app touts it as a “first for travellers.” So what are the benefits of having a deep-learning AI act as your own personal Orlando expert? For one thing, it allows you to request detailed information from a travel-oriented digital assistant. Want a great view of the city? Watson will tell you where to go. Looking for the best local seafood restaurants in a specific locale? Watson has you covered. The only thing the AI (probably) can’t help you with is how to get away with cutting in line at Disney World.

Aside from Watson, the app boasts an augmented reality map alongside a traditional 2D map. Visit Orlando also borrows a few features from other buzz-worthy apps, including an augmented reality game that may appeal to fans of Pokémon Go and a number of Snapchat-style selfie filters.

The Visit Orlando app — available now for iOS and Android — lets you purchase discount attraction tickets too. And if you’re craving human assistance, you can use it to contact a Visit Orlando travel specialist for navigational tips.

IBM’s versatile AI is having a busy 2016. In June, the supercomputer began interacting with passengers on a self-driving EV bus in Washington D.C. as part of a partnership between IBM and automaker Local Motors. That same month, it had journalists worrying about the future of their profession when it independently edited an entire magazine. It also found time to indulge in a spot of robotic dancing earlier this year.


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