Self-driving cars. Academic papers that write themselves. Chatbots that look and sound like human beings. All of these stories and more have been in the news today as new developments in automation and artificial intelligence seek to revolutionize the way we work and live. Automated technology now impacts nearly every industry today, and the world of real estate is no different. What’s next for automation and AI, and how is it going to affect the way real estate professionals do business? Let’s take a look.
Automation tools are used in real estate in a wide variety of instances. Advanced machine learning algorithms are used to identify homeowners who are likely to put their property up for sale in the immediate future, providing opportunities for real estate agents to approach those homeowners before they even do so. Chatbots can interact with clients or prospects on an agent’s website and receive answers to routine questions immediately without having to wait for a response from a human. In these ways, automation provides a valuable service to both real estate professionals and their clients.
In the future, real estate automation may go even further. Automating the approval of home lending is one region where there’s likely to be more growth in the future. As the complex algorithms and neural networks that power these AI applications become more sophisticated, the approval process for a mortgage will take less time, resulting in buyers being able to close on a property more quickly and with less bureaucratic red tape.
Automation represents dozens of ways to make the life of the average real estate professional easier, but it’s far from a perfect solution. That’s because the AI technology running behind the scenes is still very much experimental, crude, or both. Even the most high-profile uses of the technology today, such as advanced chatbots like ChatGPT, encounter problems when used in unexpected ways or whenever they’re applied to situations that are beyond their capabilities; for every seamless essay written by ChatGPT, there are several instances of the chatbot responding to a query incorrectly or inaccurately.
The problem here is that these “smart” automated systems are only as intelligent as the data they’re trained on. There’s an old saying in the programming industry: garbage in, garbage out. The more information these algorithms are exposed to and allowed to analyze, the better they are at picking up observable patterns. There’s no distinction between whether the information in that data set is accurate or not - if ChatGPT is told repeatedly that the world is flat rather than round, it will supply that answer when someone asks that question. Therefore, it becomes essential for these newly developing systems to only be fed the most accurate information possible to ensure we get the biggest benefit from those systems.
The idea of automation in the real estate industry might set off a few warning bells for professionals who fear these new smart systems might make them obsolete. If automated technology gets so good at its job, they wonder, will there even be a place for human beings in the industry? Thankfully, this is not likely to happen anytime soon. AI systems are simply not complex enough - yet - to take over completely for a real estate professional. Instead, it’s beneficial to keep in mind that they are simply tools for saving both time and energy so that you can devote those resources to other aspects of your business.