According to the Future of Travel survey by Travelzoo, 51 percent of U.K. tourists predict customer-facing security checks at airports and hotels will soon be in the hands of technology such as robots, artificial intelligence and data-processing machines.
However, for two thirds (67 percent), the idea of technology replacing humans in roles that are related to safety and security is frightening.
With recent global events making safety and security the top priority for travelers, 45 percent of Britons who participated in the survey say they are expecting technology to replace humans in many security roles within a few years, and 35 percent believe that doing so would dramatically improve safety and security in travel—versus 26 percent who think security would not be improved if technology fully replaces humans.
The majority of U.K. tourists (77 percent) who participated in the survey believe machines learn processes faster, have better memories than humans (76 percent) and are less likely to make mistakes (73 percent).
For seven out of 12 key skill sets needed for roles in travel and tourism, technology scores higher than humans. Where humans fare better is in the ‘softer skills’ such as higher emotional intelligence levels (92 percent), understanding facial expressions (84 percent) and expressing feelings (93 percent). Respondents also feel that overall humans provide better security against terrorism than technology such as robots and artificial intelligence.
When asked who performs better—robots or humans—in security-related roles at airports, around half believe humans perform better on security scanners at airports (46 percent), and when checking passports at border control (52 percent). In fact, the only role where consumers feel technology could perform better, or as well as humans, is loading checked baggage onto a plane (64 percent)—but only once that baggage has been through a humansecurity check.
Other key stats:
- Over half (54 percent) believe a combination of using a human pilot, and auto-pilot technology, is the safest option.
- 60 percent of people say they would choose a plane flown by a human (with no auto-pilot assistance) over a plane flown by auto pilot (with no human assistance).
- A third (35 percent) think drones should be used for aerial surveillance in busy resorts/popular tourist destinations, as they would make them feel safer.
- 18 percent of people would consider riding in a driverless car, while 36 percent say they would never consider riding in a driverless car.
- 94 percent believe U.K. airports are more secure or as secure as non-U.K. airports.