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To protect its hosts, Airbnb is now using an AI-powered tool to scan the internet for clues that a guest might not be a reliable customer.
According to patent documents reviewed by the Evening Standard, the tool takes into account everything from a user’s criminal record to their social media posts to rate their likelihood of exhibiting “untrustworthy” traits — including narcissism, Machiavellianism, and even psychopathy.
The background check tool is the work of Trooly, a startup Airbnb acquired in 2017. When the Evening Standard asked Airbnb to comment on the extent to which it uses Trooly’s tool, it declined.
However, Airbnb’s website does note the company’s use of AI to rate potential guests: “Every Airbnb reservation is scored for risk before it’s confirmed. We use predictive analytics and machine learning to instantly evaluate hundreds of signals that help us flag and investigate suspicious activity before it happens.”
It’s hard to say whether an AI can actually predict whether a person is a psychopath — or at least someone you wouldn’t want inside your home — solely from the information about them online.
However, Airbnb has been dealing with the problem of guests trashing hosts’ homes for years, so if the tool can weed out potential troublemakers, it’s easy to see why the company would be eager to implement it.
READ MORE: Booker beware: Airbnb can scan your online life to see if you’re a suitable guest [The Evening Standard]
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