The holiday lettings business has vowed to forego the efficiencies and opportunities presented by the technology which have persuaded Silicon Valley’s tech titans such as Uber to pour investment into machine learning by positioning itself as something more in line with a traditional union.
To that end CEO Brian Chesky is to embark on a world tour evangelizing about the services people first approach, backing this up with the formation of a host advisory board to provide feedback via one of four annual board meetings.
Chesky commented: “I’m concerned about the concept of automation. Many jobs will be automated; a lot will be. This will have benefits for people but it also has a huge cost. I worry that ‘Made in America’ will become ‘Made by robots in America’.
“Tech will never replace what you do, although it might replace other jobs. A robot can open a door and let you into a home, but it’s not going to make you feel welcome.”
Airbnb’s stance as an advocate for employment rights follows allegations that is business model has exacerbated the housing crisis in major cities by reallocating scant accommodation to high-paying tourists rather than locals.
Since the election of president Donald Trump Airbnb has become increasingly political, criticising a recent US travel ban.