How Artificial Intelligence is Going to Affect Real Estate

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Artificial intelligence used to be considered something that belonged in the realm of science fiction but not real life. However, said concept has become more and more plausible as people have continued introducing new techniques and technologies, so much so that it seems like it is on the verge of coming into existence.

For proof, look no further than the fact that something called Rankbrain has become one of the most important factors that Google uses to rank its search results for search phrases. (1) In short, Rankbrain is not a true artificial intelligence in the sense that it can emulate human thinking and surpass it, but it is an artificial intelligence in the sense that it is capable of machine learning, which is when software can learn from its experiences in much the same manner as living beings. As a result, whenever Rankbrain processes another search, it learns a little more about exactly what Google users are searching for, thus ensuring that it will provide better and better service as time passes.

Although Google uses its artificial intelligence to provide better search results for the search phrases submitted to it, it should come as no surprise to learn that artificial intelligence has enormous implications for businesses of all sizes and all sectors, which is why there is such a wide range of institutions out there pouring their time, their effort, and the rest of their resources into creating such assets. Real estate is not an exception to this rule, as shown by current developments in the real estate sector as well as some of the ways that artificial intelligence could help facilitate real estate transactions.

Here are some examples of how artificial intelligence will affect real estate:

1. Finding the right opportunities in the form of the right real estate properties is a persistent problem in real estate. In part, this is because there is so much information out there that it can be a serious challenge for even the best real estate agents to process all of the possibilities that exist. However, it should also be noted that matching real estate properties to those who want them is neither simple nor straightforward, which is why real estate agents need considerable education as well as experience to deliver consistent results to their clients. Fortunately, one way that artificial intelligence can help is match real estate properties with those who want them based on the characteristics of those real estate properties, as shown by the example of EveryHome, which is a Seattle-based startup that has created a software called CityBldr meant to help commercial developers find what they are looking for by examining more than 180 factors. (2) Besides saving their clients a lot of cash in the form of real estate commissions as well as other real estate-related fees, this could also lead to better and better results over time since the digital nature of the service makes it that much easier to collect and compile information about its efforts, which in turn, will make it that much easier for EveryHome to make improvements.

2. On a related note, real estate consumers are already using sophisticated search services such as Zillow and Trulia to find real estate properties that they might be interested in. Imagine what will be possible in the future when artificial intelligence makes it possible for search services to not just respond to their users’ desires but also predict them and respond to them in a proactive manner. In fact, this is something that can already be seen in how search services provide similar results in a sidebar or some other unobtrusive location, which is meant to provide their users with more possibilities without disrupting their use in the process. Although this is no more than a crude predecessor at the moment, it is nonetheless a significant step in that direction.

3. Chatbots are becoming more and more sophisticated, so much so that a Russian chatbot called Eugene Goodman actually managed to pass the famous Turing test in 2014. (3) In short, the Turing test means that a software is capable of convincing 30 percent of people that they are conversing with a human rather than a machine. Since Eugene Goodman managed to convince 33 percent of the judges at a major British competition that they had been conversing with a 13 year-old Ukrainian boy, it set a world record as the first chatbot to pass that hurdle. Of course, it is important to note that chatbots are still far from being as responsive as a skilled and experienced human real estate agent, but based on this, it is not difficult to imagine that they might become so sophisticated in the future that they can take up part of the customer service process for real estate agents. Chances are good that they will not be able to handle the most complicated discussions anytime soon, but small, trivial matters such as booking appointments and providing general information seem almost as though they are within reach.

Further Considerations

With that said, it is important to remember that predicting the future is never simple and straightforward, meaning that what seems probable based on present trends may or may not come to pass because predicting the future involves so many different factors that it is difficult for even the biggest and best-established institutions to collect all of the necessary information. Never mind compile them into a usable format. As a result, while real estate agents have been predicted as one of the careers that will be heavily automated as artificial intelligence becomes reality, there is no telling at this point in time whether that will be true or not.(4)

However, even if artificial intelligence fails to replace real estate agents altogether, it seems probable that it will have an enormous impact on not just real estate agents but also real estate consumers by improving the efficacy and efficiency with which real estate services are provided as well as the excellence of the real estate services received by those who need them.

References:

  1. http://searchengineland.com/faq-all-about-the-new-google-rankbrain-algorithm-234440
  2. http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/techflash/2016/04/exclusive-seattle-startup-launches-artificial.html
  3. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27762088
  4. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34066941

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