how ai will re-imagine air travel: interview with bernadette

AI is helping to re-imagine experiences of all sorts, including air travel. At SXSW 2024 Bernadette Berger, who is Director of Innovation at Alaska Airlines presents on “The Sky’s the Limit: How AI will Re-imagine Airports”. In this episode of the AI Today podcast hosts and AI thought leaders Kathleen Walch and Ron Schmelzer have the opportunity to interview Bernadette.

How is AI transforming the aviation industry?

Transforming industries, especially ones that have been around for a long time, is not always easy. Yet, AI is transforming the aviation industry and passenger experience in some profound ways. From facial recognition technology to help identify passengers to predictive analytics to help with logistics and routing, aviation and travel are already seeing the benefits of AI. Additionally, if you add personalized digital assistants and real-time navigation airports will become fully accessible and immersive hubs for travel, retail and entertainment. Bernadette shares with our listeners what this AI-enabled vision will look like.

How is AI affecting the airline industry?

Already impacting passenger and customer experiences, AI is only going to continue to have an impact. Bernadette provides examples of what’s currently happening and how AI will continue to transform these experiences in the future. But, with any technology the good comes with its challenges. Bernadette shares how AI will Re-imagine Air Travel. She also shares some of the challenges with AI adoption within the transportation industry. And, what can be done to help with these challenges both now and in the future.


This podcast was recorded as part of the AI Today @ SXSW 2024 podcast activation. This podcast is sponsored by Intel, the spark for the dreamers who do. They dream of a life with no diseases, of cleaner, greener, more reliable energy  of advancing education by bringing AI everywhere.  Intel is the spark to start something new. To know that no dream is too daring when you have the right foundation. It starts with Intel. Learn more at


Show Notes:


trustworthy ai best practices: lessons learned from the rite

Facial recognition falls under the recognition pattern of AI. On it’s own the technology is neutral. However, it’s the application and use (or misuse) of this technology that can have severe consequences. Rite Aid is one of the most recent companies to come under fire for their use of facial recognition. In this episode of the AI Today podcast we explore what happened that that caused the FTC to give retailer Rite Aid fa facial recognition ban for 5 years.

Why is facial recognition being banned?

Between 2012-2020 Rite Aid was using facial recognition technology in it’s stores to help identify customers who may have been engaged in shoplifting or other problematic behavior. Problem was, the system was falsely identifying consumers, particularly women and people of color, as shoplifters. So, what went wrong? The facial recognition system Rite Aid used clearly didn’t have enough diverse training data and enough good quality data/images. The images were of such low quality they framed innocent people. Additionally, the systems lacked sufficient human oversight with employees not being properly trained and blindly trusting the AI system. Also, there was a clear lack of AI system controls and Trustworthy AI framework in place.

How accurate is facial recognition?

Facial recognition technology, like all AI technology, is probabilistic. AI systems are probabilistic as they provide predictions with differing levels of probability and are best suited to probabilistic problems where data can be highly variable. So, this means that facial recognition systems will never be 100% accurate. This means that AI systems need constant human supervision. Never blindly trust an AI system, especially one that can cause personal harm. Don’t drive over the cliff because the AI system tells you to.

How do I make AI more Trustworthy?

Buying AI solutions from a vendor doesn’t absolve you of responsibility to make sure the technology is being used properly. The core of the complaint against Rite Aid was “that the company failed to take reasonable measures to prevent harm to consumers”. It doesn’t matter if you bought the AI system from a vendor or built it yourself. Your AI system, your problem.

What is a Trustworthy AI Strategy?

In light of this news you may be asking yourself: Can I opt out of facial recognition? Can you block facial recognition? Tune into this episode to learn more about what happened and what this FTC facial recognition ban ruling mean for you.

Snow Notes:

encore: when your face is your ticket

Face mapping and other tracking systems are changing the sports experience in the stands and on the court. In part-three of this latest series on facial recognition, Jennifer Strong and the team at MIT Technology Review jump on the court to unpack just how much things are changing. This episode was originally published December 8, 2020.

We meet: 
Donnie Scott, senior vice president of public security, IDEMIA
Michael D’Auria, vice president of business development, Second Spectrum
Jason Gay, sports columnist, The Wall Street Journal
Rachel Goodger, director of business development, Fancam
Rich Wang, director of analytics and fan engagement, Minnesota Vikings

This episode was reported and produced by Jennifer Strong, Anthony Green, Tate Ryan-Mosley, Emma Cillekens and Karen Hao. We’re edited by Michael Reilly and Gideon Lichfield.