We all make jokes about AI taking over the world, but...

Every time I've watched The Terminator, I always kind of laugh it off, but always sort of feel uncomfortable as I chuckle. One would like to think that it's something that just lives in the movies and that's it. But every day, it seems like there's another way AI tech creeps into our everyday lives.

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Sometimes it's our music, or TV, or the weird photos online that just don't look quite right. But in more practical ways, computers can be asked to do tasks that would take us forever to do manually, but isn't remotely hard work for computer software. Really, how hard is it for a computer to simply monitor and report? Sounds harmless right?

Well, that depends...

Bar Harbor Maine town square

The town of Bar Harbor obviously has a lot of short-term, Airbnb style rentals. At this point, there are tons of sites that offer the same idea... a place you can rent to stay in, that isn't a hotel/motel, more or less. As such, Bar Harbor has some pretty specific rules about them, the least of which being that they need to be registered.

Businesses on West Street in downtown Bar Harbor, Maine.

The town requires all STR's to be registered by May 31st, annually. Failure to do so can result in a fine, which is pretty steep, at $1500. The penalties escalate from there for additional violations.


The town has implemented some special software that will comb through dozens of STR websites, and over time it can detect which ones are registered and which aren't. And it's working overtime, just in the last several days, the software has uncovered 18 properties in violation, according to the Mount Desert Islander.

Not everyone is going to love this.

For years, STR's were basically like the wild west. There wasn't a lot of regulation. Towns like Bar Harbor were left scratching their heads on whether this was ok or not. While residents have likely come to rely on these as a source of income, especially with the premium prices you could get in an area like this.

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Anecdotally, it's an extremely controversial move among residents, but it still seems to be moving forward, just the same. Notices are being handed out, and eventually fines will be levied. Only time will tell how it's all going to shake out. But if you own an STR somewhere else, expect Bar Harbor to set a new example for other towns.

Instead of renting, you could just buy this place!

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