AI and Real Estate Business Management: How AI Is and Will Affect the Real Estate Industry. Part 2
We continue talking about AI in the real estate industry. In this part, we will focus on different types of AI and ethical issues associated with Artificial Intelligence.
What Are the Different Types of AI?
Generally speaking, there are four types of AI.
- Reactive– Reactive AI has no memory and only reacts on specific stimuli. In a nutshell, reactive machines don’t have a concept of the past and aren’t aware of the things that happened in the past. Reactive machines are perceiving the world directly.
- Limited Memory– This AI uses memory and data analysis to learn and improve. Self-driving cars are one example of limited memory AI.
- Theory of Mind– This will be an AI that understands different needs of other intelligent species. Theory of mind AI will be a first step in creating a self-aware AI. Artificial intelligence of this type understands that humans and different entities have a mind of their own, emotions and thoughts that influence their behavior. Understanding each other was the first step in creating societies for humans.
- Self-Aware– This will be an AI with human-like awareness. It’s the type of AI that many are so scared off. As the name suggests, this AI is not only aware of other entities’ needs and emotions, but it is self-aware, placing it on the same level as humans.
Right now, we’ve reached only the limited memory AI type. But the landscape of artificial intelligence is practically boundless.
What Are the Ethical Issues of AI in Real Estate?
So, what are real estate professionals’ main concerns when it comes to AI?
- Unemployment- One of the obvious concerns is the ethical issue of unemployment. Real estate agents are concerned that AI will replace them and completely transform the real estate industry. What we see right now is that we are using reactive machines and limited memory AI. We are far from advanced AI types that might threaten our employment prospects. AI right now helps to improve and make more efficient the business management aspect of real estate.
- Data Protection- Since limited memory AI heavily relies on data analysis for development, there are valid concerns about data protection. Real estate professionals are concerned about the legal and ethical framework of AI using data from buyers and sellers. Some have called for important regulations that will control what data can be used by third parties such as AI. Others have said that customers should also be aware of the inner workings of AI, so they could make informed decisions. All in all, transparency will likely be important when it comes to AI.
- Discrimination- Recently, we’ve seen that discrimination is one of the top concerns in the real estate industry. Since AI can be used for matching people with properties based on the price point and location preferences, there are legitimate concerns about clients being discriminated against on the basis of gender, sexuality, or religious preferences. Considering that AI is still a human creation, human prejudices can be built intentionally or unintentionally into AI algorithms. Another important aspect to consider is that AI uses data to learn. This data is often unfiltered. Microsoft’s AI chatbot Tay showcased what can happen when data is assimilated the worst possible way.
- Lack of Regulations- AI is a new frontier with new possibilities and threats we yet have to discover. The lack of regulations is something that is a concern not only for real estate agents. We are pioneers that have yet to establish ethical regulations for AI that will help us to avoid discrimination issues. But one thing is clear; technology is becoming an essential part of the real estate industry. Opposing it is like going against a tidal wave. Instead of resisting technological advancement, we should harness the power of it, assimilate it and understand it, thereby removing the negative stigma and creating a positive experience for every real estate professional.
How Does AI Change Real Estate?
One thing we should mention is that AI and real estate agents are not enemies. Real estate professionals already are using some variations of AI in their work. One example is chatbots. Chatbots give us an opportunity to have constant communication with clients. AI is a supportive tool that helps real estate agents to improve their job performance, but performance itself is solely dependent on real estate agents.
We all know that buying or selling a house is not just data analysis and prediction. It’s also a property showing and discussing many little details that can’t be emulated by an AI, at least not an AI that we have right now.
Will AI Take Real Estate Over?
The current situation demonstrates that we’re far from self-aware, human-like machines that are autonomous in decision making and don’t require human assistance. So, to answer the question, no. Right now AI is merely a tool. It’s great and very sufficient, and oftentimes it is helpful in decision making, but it’s just a tool. Real estate professionals are still the core of the real estate world. AI is not replacing real estate professionals; it is augmenting them.