A new frontier for travel scammers: AI-generated guidebooks

Shoddy guidebooks,compiled with the help of generative artificial intelligence, have proliferated in recent months on Amazon

Aug 8, 2023

The books are the result of a swirling mix of modern tools: A.I. apps that can produce text and fake portraits; websites with a seemingly endless array of stock photos and graphics; self-publishing platforms - like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing - with few guardrails against the use of A.I.; and the ability to solicit, purchase and post phony online reviews.

Key takeaways

  • The use of these tools in tandem has allowed the books to rise near the top of Amazon search results and sometimes garner Amazon endorsements such as “#1 Travel Guide on Alaska;”
  • A recent Amazon search for the phrase “Paris Travel Guide 2023,” for example, yielded dozens of guides with that exact title;
  • Many of the books also include “editorial reviews” from heavy hitters like Afar magazine and Condé Nast Traveler - both publications denied reviewing the books.

Get the full story at The New York Times

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