New developments in the field of artificial intelligence have been making leaps and bounds over the past few years. The practical applications of newer, “smarter” algorithms and machine learning models are everywhere in the real estate industry. AI predictive modeling is used in countless ways for analyzing properties and making market forecasts for everything from when a home will sell, how much it’s likely to sell for, and which residents in a neighborhood are likely to put their property up on the market.
Today, real estate professionals are even more excited about the potential of AI technology, especially in the realm of real estate marketing. New developments in AI-driven chatbots capable of producing human-like written content have captured the imagination of every real estate marketer looking for better ways to streamline content creation. Unfortunately, while these chatbots are absolutely incredibly advanced, and they can produce some jaw-dropping content, they aren’t quite ready for primetime just yet.
Seeing an AI-driven chatbot in action is mesmerizing. Technologies driven by language models like ChatGPT, like Microsoft’s Bing search engine, can produce detailed responses from a simple query written in natural language by a user. Unfortunately, the problem here is that these chatbots aren’t always providing correct or accurate responses to these queries. In the case of Bing, it was recently discovered that it’s offering search engine results that are recursive - Bing is citing itself in its answers. In other words, Bing isn’t providing answers sourced from third-party websites that it finds in a web search - it’s using itself as a source.
This is problematic for several reasons. First, from a consumer experience angle, this sort of circular sourcing can be confusing to users trying to understand the results of their Bing searches. Additionally, this represents a problem when users are looking for authoritative sources - the difference between Bing providing answers that are sourced from respected medical websites, for example, is much different than an answer that is simply concocted by Bing itself. If AI chatbot technology is intended to provide clear, accurate, and correct responses based on the data they have access to, this sort of snake-eating-its-own-tail content creation is clear evidence that there are some serious bugs that still need to be worked out.
Even though it’s obvious that chatbots like ChatGPT aren’t quite there yet for widespread use, the potential that these technologies have is obvious. Today, real estate marketing is primarily done over the internet. There are myriad ways for marketing online, but they universally involve content creation in the form of marketing copy. Whether it’s blogging, writing email newsletters, creating social media posts, or anything else, content marketing is the primary vehicle for real estate marketers - and the ability to automate this content creation by using an advanced AI chatbot is alluring, to say the least!
Real estate professionals who do their own marketing are often consumed with the content creation process. Being able to ask a chatbot to create a marketing email for them, for example, represents an opportunity to save time and effort that could be spent elsewhere on growing their brand. Another example would be using a chatbot as an automated customer service representative, as an AI could field routine questions from clients and prospects without any delay due to the availability of a human to respond to those questions. It’s potentially revolutionary - but only if AI technologies have progressed to the point where they’re reliable. We’re simply not there yet.
Issues with accuracy, consistency, and other strange behaviors (like Bing citing itself in web searches) show that AI-generated content still has a long way to go before it can be trusted to deliver flawless results. However, this doesn’t mean that smart and attentive marketers can’t begin to use some of these tools now - provided they do so while keeping a close eye on them. Marketers can generate content for blog posts and email newsletters and then carefully review that content, vetting it for mistakes and correcting it where necessary. This can help the content creation process by producing a “first draft” of content that can then be altered to make it fit for purpose.
It’s not an ideal solution, to be sure. Using AI content generation in this manner still requires a lot of oversight on the part of a real estate professional, as the technology is still simply too primitive to be left to its own devices. However, it can still represent time savings for a busy real estate agent or marketer, as editing and modifying a piece of content is often less time-consuming than drafting something from scratch. Small, incremental improvements in marketing workflows do make a difference over time, after all - and that can make a major difference in the long run.
Chatbots driven by advanced algorithms developed by artificial intelligence scientists are certainly lightyears ahead of where they were just a few years ago. Yet even with these recent advances, as impressive as they truly are, the technology still has a way to go before it can be trusted to deliver accurate and correct results when queried.
It’s unclear how long it will be until AI-driven chatbots are indeed advanced enough to be left to their own devices without users worrying if they’re getting good, reliable results from these programs. However, AI scientists are closing the gap rapidly - it’s unlikely to be long before the full potential of AI-generated content will be advanced enough to be relied on with confidence.