Artificial intelligence (AI) has become prevalent almost everywhere. By the simplest of terms, AI is when machines using computer programs have been designed to be capable of thinking, acting, and learning like humans.
An example of AI technology that many may be familiar with is in healthcare, where use of robotics is seen to be on the rise. Currently, the use of robotics and artificial intelligence in this field can be seen in surgical settings, in the delivery of healthcare services (blood sampling, heart monitoring, fitness and health recommendations), and in robots who “converse” with patients after gathering data and then provide answers or suggestions based on the compiled findings. In healthcare environments, AI is also on the rise as a tool to assist professionals with their day-to-day tasks. For example, nurses can spend a large portion of a shift searching for medications, working on paperwork, coordinating lab results, and other tasks that take time away from hands-on patient care. The value of artificial intelligence in such a setting is that it helps to automate some of those processes, leaving the nurse with more time for delivering one-on-one patient care.
AI Taking Further In-Roads
Not as obvious, but still important, are the ways that artificial intelligence is becoming prevalent in other industries aside from healthcare. Regardless of industry, the main goal of AI use is to gather data and generate metrics. These metrics help assist the programming of computers that are built into certain machines - with the goal of these products eventually developing machine-learned, self-driven solutions.
In addition to using AI to augment human skills (like surgical robots in healthcare), artificial intelligence is especially suited for and expected to impact different aspects of project management and other business processes. For example, AI can be used for enhancing business-driven functions. Corporate departments that handle work such as IT administration, project planning and operations, risk assessment, product delivery automation, customer satisfaction ratings, and others are finding AI to be valuable.
The use of artificial intelligence in businesses is resulting in different positive outcomes.
While some industries are already seeing good results when AI is applied to internal processes, other outcomes are seen externally, such as in customer satisfaction levels rising - and companies dependent on good ratings are taking action. One example is the highly customer-centric travel industry that is currently experiencing an acceleration in the deployment of artificial intelligence use.
AI On the Move
For companies in the travel sector, AI allows travelers to design their unique preferences using various tools and then create tailored travel recommendations or services based on those choices.
UtripPro, a “data-driven personalization platform” uses sophisticated algorithms along with a compilation of a traveler’s interests and budget requirements to sort through options and deliver a personalized itinerary for the individual.
KLM Airlines, in partnership with DigitalGenious, uses an AI-powered platform to review customer service-based questions and then analyze and learn from past interactions and answers to provide more convenient replies via several customer service channels.
Hotels are also changing the industry with AI. Most people have heard about changes in hotels that include mobile check-in, concierge messaging, and smart-phone enabled technologies that control room temperature, locks, curtains, and the like, all designed to improve the guest experience. However, another new concept has hit the industry with great success. Some hotels are collecting personal information upfront, even before a booking is made, that relates to tastes, likes, and dislikes of the traveler. For example, at PersonalityHotels.com, the traveler can select from a menu of choices relating to what they want from a travel experience by simply using a slider action. Want more culture on the trip? Slide the bar right and the suggested activities instantly changes. After collecting this data, the site then recommends things like lodging choices, must see sights in the area, restaurant recommendations, and much more.
AI In the Cruise Industry
Changes in the use of AI are also found in the passenger cruise industry where the growth and benefits of artificial intelligence can be seen for both the companies using the technology and for the passengers.
Royal Caribbean relates that the use of this technology is about personalization and enhancing the traveler’s experience. According to Sol Rashidi, Chief Data and Cognitive Officer at Royal Caribbean, “From the first time they inquire about a promotion, or a destination, or a ship release, so when they call back, and they want to understand packages, offers, and promotions, to when they put their first deposit down” the cruise line is inundated with questions like “What's the dress code for a particular restaurant? What type of events do you have? Can you make reservations for a specialty restaurant? "We just added two to the party, can we adjust our reservation?" Royal Caribbean is using AI to analyze these types of inquiries to build out systems to help provide answers to passengers, while at the same time lightening the load on its customer service base of workers.
Another way Royal Caribbean is using AI is to enhance the perception of fun and convenience for passengers. August of 2108 saw the launch of a first-of-its-kind tool called SoundSeeker, an AI-equipped application that uses machine learning to create soundtracks based on a passenger’s photos. According to Cruise Addicts, the tool, a technological collaboration between Royal Caribbean, Berklee College of Music, and technologists from around the world, “the AI in SoundSeeker uses Google Cloud Vision to identify objects, facial expressions and colors in a user’s photo by referencing the roadmap developed by the leaders in music theory at Berklee. SoundSeeker then finds the musical elements corresponding to each mood in the photo to compose a genuinely distinct audio and visual photo album.”
Luxury cruise lines, as part of an effort to provide stellar, bespoke services, are using AI technology that gives them information faster than before. MSC Cruises, in partnership with HARMAN, is gearing up to debut an AI powered digital assistant on the MSC Belissima as part of the cruise line’s digital initiative project. According to HARMAN, the AI-powered personal assistant that can communicate in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese, and Mandarin, “is capable of learning users’ preferences and meeting the needs of a truly modern consumer. It can communicate, order room service, offer quick answers, and act as a 24/7 virtual butler.”
Cruise Planning with AI
One of the most difficult parts of any vacation planning is weeding through options. Similar to the tool provided by UtripPro, JetBlue has partnered with CruisingStore to make this process easier and more enjoyable. Together, they have introduced a platform based on artificial intelligence technology that takes data collected from JetBlue’s cruise travel site and helps to make suggestions based on a traveler’s destination preference, budgetary restrictions, and other factors.
Regardless of industry, artificial intelligence is seen as a means of empowering companies who use it to gain intelligence into their business, develop proactive solutions based on that intelligence, and, in the end, provide better customized experiences for all involved.
Ghostwritten for online publication.
Whether you are an art connoisseur or just like checking out what local artists have created, Medellin has a thriving art scene not to be missed.
Respect the Artist, Not the Medium
Starting at street level, Medellin has a huge array of what is normally considered graffiti, but in this city, this artwork is well-respected. Having been built into an abundance of hillsides, Medellin is a city of retaining walls and buildings with vast expanses of exposed outer walls. Many of these have become canvases that portray stories about the city’s past, most notably when the area was ruled by drugs and the gangs that sold them. Larger than life portraits, embellished in bright colors, some highly artistic, others more novice in appearance, they are all colorful monuments to the city, woven within buildings, streets, and alleys. Many are visible from several different places, providing the observer with a changing sense of perspective and interpretation when seen from a different vantage point. To see a good sampling, it is suggested that visitors to the area check out “Street art in Medellin, Colombia – in pictures,” a pictorial example of street art in Comuna 13, once one of Medellin’s most notorious neighborhoods.
More Traditional Vibes
Still on the upswing from its heyday as a crime haven, Medellin has been working hard to revitalize its economy and reputation. Working towards this goal, there has been a surge in tourism and, with that, a steady growth in art galleries and museums. Medellin has a good selection of galleries providing smaller installations of local artists. However, at the other end of the spectrum are two traditional museums hosting galleries of artists who are becoming more famous each year.
Medellín Museo de Arte Moderno (MMAM), a repurposed steel factory said to be “rapidly gentrifying Ciudad del Rio neighborhood” is the first not to be missed. In a 2016 Travel + Leisure interview, chief curator Amiliano Valdes, discusses the growth of the MMAM, relating that the museum’s collection of mostly Columbian artists would be on permanent display with the new building extension that had recently been completed. Featured at MMAM is the extensive collection of Debora Orango, a late feminist painter that used themes of social commentary along with confrontational depictions in her work.
Besides permanent installations, the museum also has a state-of-the-art film and music theatre, allowing the hosting of more varied types of art.
Second is Medellin’s Museo de Antioquia with the notable collection of abstract artist Fernando Botero, best recognized for his signature stylizing of rounded, “fat” people – also called boterismo. On display at the museum are 168 pieces of work by Botero in mixed media, both in the galleries and on the plaza in front, aptly named Plaza de Botero.
In the Eye of the Beholder
Regardless of personal taste, anyone who loves, appreciates, or is just curious about different styles of art will find plenty to see and discuss in the artwork on display in and around the city of Medellin.
Posted on GoToMedellin.com
Believe it or not, one of the hottest locations to travel is Medellin, Colombia which has many rental apartments. Much has been done to improve all aspects of life in the area and it was voted the “most innovative city of 2012” in a competition put together by the Urban Land Institute, Citi Financial Group, and Wall Street Journal Magazine.
This amazing transformation has resulted in an increase of vacationers, an influx of foreigners coming to work at newly developed orrelocated companies (tech in particular), and retirees – all seeking a locationthat is safe, affordable, and exploding with amenities of all sorts.
Finding Your New Residence
Medellin has a wide array of housing options across several neighborhoods and it’s important to get to know each as you explore your choices.
The cheapest neighborhoods in the Medellin area are Bello, Itagüí, La América, La Candelaria and La Estrella. The five most popular neighborhoods in Medellin include Belén, Envigado, El Poblado, Laureles-Estadio, and Sabaneta.
Vacationers on a short-term visit may be best suited to try out Medellin’s hostels, hotels, AirBnB options, or even some of the short-term furnished apartments that are available in any of the neighborhoods.
For people who want or need to stay longer (typically at least a month or more), it is suggested that a rental apartment may be a better option. There are many types to choose from and the amenities can range widely. Some apartments come furnished but what they provide needs to be checked out fully before committing. Locations can make a difference as to safety, transportation options, and more. Also, potential renters need to factor in security deposits, parking space fees, cleaning fees, and the like.
In some of the higher-end neighborhoods, like El Poblado, renters have the opportunity to choose a luxury rental apartment.
Luxury Living in Medellin Apartments
Sometimes the comfort of home is what you want while you’re away. Or maybe you just want the opportunity to spoil yourself for a while. Either way, luxury apartment living in Medellin is something that you should consider.
Take this luxury apartment in Medellin for example: 701 Astorga Duplex. This high-end and fully-furnished rental apartment, located in the ultra-desirable El Poblado area, provides its residents with the following amenities, not typically included in non-luxury apartments:
Premium luxury apartments, where the cost averages between $2,000 to $4,000 per month depending on location, can sometimes be a better deal for a long-term stay when the additional (and often overlooked) costs that are found in non-luxury apartments are added in. To see more luxury apartment options in the Medellin area, check out GoToMedellin.com
Published on GoToMedellin.com
When looking to travel or live in another country, considerations for a seniors destination include the safety of an area, healthcare availability, easy access to transportation, and an abundance of entertainment.
Recently, Medellin, Colombia has been a location frequently recommended to seniors and others looking for someplace different. But, with its shaky past as a high-crime drug capital, one has to ask why.
As it turns out, the past 20 years have brought about a remarkable change for Medellin and the surrounding area. Great efforts have been made to transform the area, shed the bad reputation, and stimulate growth of all types. These changes have led to an upsurge of business development plus improvements in infrastructure, technology, healthcare, social amenities and more.
Of particular interest to foreigners is El Poblado, an upscale neighborhood located at the eastern side of the Aburra Valley and in close proximity to El Centro, Medellin’s city center. This area is best described as being more developed than others, making it more appealing to boomers while staying in the region. According to Medellin Living, “It is essentially a wealthy suburb that offers Medellin’s elite a western lifestyle with all the creature comforts money can buy.”
Safety measures have been stepped up in El Poblado. The neighborhood has an increased police presence, allowing visitors and residents added comfort and security when going about their activities, both day and night.
There are several medical clinics located right in El Poblado providing services from general medical care right on up to plastic surgery and, according to International Living and the World Health Organization (WHO), Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe in nearby Medellin is higher ranked than comparable facilities in the United States and Canada.
Getting around Medellin and El Poblado is easy for seniors with transportation options that include access to taxis, bus service, the metro, and even Uber.
As the most well-to-do neighborhood of Medellin, El Poblado’s tree-lined streets are dotted with modern high-rise buildings offering mostly luxury apartments. High-end shopping can be found in several malls and many small boutiques. Restaurants and bars are plentiful and the nearby Zona Rosa features several nightclubs with a hip and vibrant nighttime scene.
For seniors interested in adventurous activities in and around the area there is much to consider. There are numerous parks with hiking paths, streams, and even ocean views to entice those who want to explore nature. Laguna de Guatape, provided by Tours Guatape, is a day trip takes participants up 650 steep steps up a rock to provide spectacular views of the coast and its surrounds.
Not to be missed is the chance to see an Atlético Nacional football (soccer to Americans) game – considered an electrifying experience even for those who don’t like the sport of soccer.
Other more adventurous activities in the area include horseback riding, parasailing, a cable car excursion, ziplining – the list goes on and on.
The El Poblado and the city of Medellin have each made a strong comeback and travel to the area should be high on anyone’s bucket list of places that provide a safe, comfortable travel experience with an abundance of things to do for all involved.
Posted on GoToMedellin.com