Sharing Economy: Airbnb Programmers Want to Build a ‘Digital Interior Designer’


Monday, January 5, 2015, by Spencer Peterson
ROpin01.jpgPhoto via Princess and the Geek

Airbnb is very invested in its listings looking nice. Since 2008, the company has offered free professional photography to rooms that meet a certain level of tastefulness, because good-looking, professionally photographed interiors are rented more often, which means more service fees for Airbnb. Now, Bloomberg reports that Airbnb is taking that idea a step further, using “the same magic that Google has”—machine learning with big sets of user data—to not only pair users with rooms they might like, but to find and push the most “attractive” listings. One day, they might even have a “digital interior designer” to help you spruce up that guest room.

Via Bloomberg:

Airbnb uses a variation of these algorithms to predict which renters and guests would be the best fit. The room-rental site says the technology has improved matches by 4 percent. Airbnb is currently developing a system to look at the photos of homes uploaded to the site and figure out how “attractive” they are to customers. “We are trying to promote listings with more attractive images,” says Maxim Charkov, the search lead at Airbnb.

Eventually, Airbnb may offer a digital interior designer that predicts ways to enhance listings and spruce up homes to increase bookings. “Maybe you should improve your images; maybe you should provide these amenities that are popular,” Charkov says. “We want to bring the insights back to the host.”

Beep, boop, traveling Generation Z-ers like Benjamin Moore eggshell 2026-70 and cardboard taxidermy and thrift store paintings with Grumpy Cat added in, reads a message from Digital Interior Designer v. 11D267, sent from Airbnb’;s Portland A.I. center to your Google Frontal Lobe Implant. The year is 2021, and you, like most citizens of Neo New York: A Unilever City™, rent out your apartment on Airbnb, so that you can afford the cheaper and dowdier Airbnb listing you actually live in. Which is in New Jersey.

Any day now, future Nate Berkus will arrive in the present, sent back through time by the human resistance to prevent this machine-driven homogenization of taste.

· Big Data Knows When You’;re Going to Quit Your Job Before You Do [Bloomberg via Architizer]


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