I asked ChatGPT to plan a trek for me. Then I did it.

Generative AI is either the best or the worst thing to ever happen to humanity, depending on who you ask. Existential risks aside, writer Kassandra Cloos wanted to know: Could ChatGPT alone help her plan and execute a successful trekking vacation? So she put it to the test.

“Can you write this again but make it funny?” I asked ChatGPT, when it spat out a detailed itinerary of a three-day hike on a section of the England Coast Path. “I want to laugh out loud while I’m reading this on the beach.”

“Day 3: A Hilariously Charming Coastal Finale,” it wrote back. It promised me a day full of “moments that would tickle my funny bone,” and then proceeded to suggest that I start my day by backtracking four miles to watch for seals at Blakeney Point, which was also on day two of the itinerary. “Step into the day with a spring in your step as you set off from Cley Next-the-Sea. The coastal path unfolds like a never-ending comedy skit, with scenic marshlands and tidal creeks providing the perfect backdrop.” 


I had accepted a challenge to ask AI to plan a town-to-town trek on the English coast and then follow its orders without fact-checking—beyond confirming the existence of the places it suggested. If I’m being honest, I wanted to have a bad time. Aside from making a living from exactly the thing AI purports to do flawlessly in mere seconds threatening to render me obsolete, I am also the sort of person who still sends postcards and handwritten letters. I love off-grid nature trips and the analog ways of doing things, so, naturally, I wanted to hate this new invasion of technology into our personal lives. I wanted it to fail at planning my trip, and miserably. I daydreamt that it would try to send me hiking straight into the sea the way Michael Scott drives into a lake while following his GPS in The Office.

But as I say, it’s not there yet. Several times, I ended up with an itinerary that sounded fantastic, and which I was ready to book, but the links didn’t work, or the hotels didn’t exist, or the towns were in the wrong order, requiring, say, an eastward backtrack on a westward journey. Once, I noticed that it had suggested hiking between towns that are not actually connected by the trail at all.

While GuideGeek claims to search real-time availability for airline tickets and hotels, I found that it could not reliably stay within my budget parameters. I told GuideGeek what I was looking for in a hotel and it made a great suggestion, but often those places were vastly over budget and/or sold out on the dates I needed.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top