a bedroom with a view of the ocean

You might want to take those New Years Eve pictures shaking the champagne bottles down. The day the movies predicted many lightyears ago is now upon us and Airbnb is the lead character.

Airbnb, the sharing economy giant which helps travellers find short term rentals and vacation options in a format less traditional than hotels, has filed a patent application with the European Patent Office in hopes of being able to use your social media history and other publicly available information to determine whether you’re a trustworthy guest, or not.

It’s yet another jaw dropping example of predictive, artificial intelligence deciding whether you have the intelligence to treat a place with respect, or not. View From The Wing notes Airbnb seems to have made good on a 2017 acquisition of Trooly, a platform which creates “instant trust” by analysing your social media data and other publicly available info, to determine and verify traits such as credit history, identity and more.

a room with two beds and a tv
An Airbnb in Tokyo.

Airbnb is now poised to deploy it in hopes of weeding out the chancers, hence the patent application.

The “more” will come in the form of using a “trait analyzer” to scan for drug use, racy photos which may indicate “sex work” and other lifestyle elements which may deem you an untrustworthy guest in the eyes of the Airbnb platform. Or put more plainly – someone soon without an Airbnb reservation!

For hosts, this is a seemingly attractive concept which will bring further trust to a community which has been burned by bad actors. The concept of Airbnb, the idea of saving money or profiting off of your unused space is charming, until you hear the horror stories. The fewer, the better.

Ultimately, while this may be creepy, it may be essential.

The Trooly data analyser is said to search and pull any and all news pieces referencing you, and to scour public resources for potential criminal history and other malfeasance. Most amusingly though, it would make judgements about whether your social media patterns indicates “narcissism, machiavellianism or psychopathy”.  I guess I’m out of luck, on at least one count.

If you might be too, I’ll let you know if they’re successful in roll out!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Does it mean, that also the owner of the property will be notified in case of something “suspicious” will be found on our social media? Will the owner have a right to let you in his/her property, or you will be just banned from using Airbnb in general by the algorithm?

  2. Super creepy. The customer is already at a disadvantage with Airbnb, since the corporation normally sides with the host in any dispute, regardless of how blatantly the host may be wrong. Now they’re stalking customers as well? I suppose you could say that the ends justify the means, but I don’t agree. On the plus side, I won’t have to worry about whether or not to stay at one in the future anymore.

  3. Will surreptitious DNA analysis and mandatory RFID chipping be gradually imposed during my lifetime? We’ll see. Sounds pretty bad today but so did many intrusions, once.

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