Artificial Intelligence’s Impact on CRE

The technological advance is rapidly growing within the industry, but there are some concerns within the corporate space, according to a panel at CoreNet Global's 2018 Summit in Boston.
Principals Peter Sloan and Brad Liebman of HOK

The use of artificial intelligence is growing in the corporate space, with more companies utilizing these platforms in order to provide new experiences to clients and employees. “It’s not so much about new platforms, but tapping into new experiences,” said Peter Sloan, principal at HOK, who co-hosted the Artificial Intelligence and the Human Experience panel along with Principal Brad Liebman at CoreNet’s 2018 Summit in Boston. 

When it comes to corporate real estate, technology has been used as a main source for managing portfolios and reporting metrics, creating new virtual and physical workspaces, and delivering a higher-quality user experience. According to Sloan, there are approximately seven sensors for every person, but by 2020, the Internet of Things will consist of almost 50 billion objects, exponentially increasing the growth potential. Artificial intelligence involves machines that think the way humans think, creating a computer system that is good at doing task as a human would. With this, comes the fear that continuous learning brings upon morality and control concerns. 

AI concerns 

A major concern comes in the form of robots replacing humans. According to the panelists, there are certain jobs more likely to be robotized than others. These include retail clerks, commercial drivers, customer service representatives, military personnel, pharmacists and paralegals, as most of these are positions that can be automated. “There is a dark side to AI, but advances haven’t replaced the workforce, they’ve enhanced it,” said Liebman. That being said, there has been a balance created when it comes to human versus machine, mainly utilizing judgement as a key factor. This is a trait that is easy for humans and difficult for computers. Humans are better at visual cues, emotions and empathy, ethics and social context. On the other end, computational capabilities are easier for robots than humans, as well as data analysis and pattern recognition. 

In order to advance the user experience, artificial intelligence will monitor and respond to our individual needs, allowing us to do tasks faster and better. Autonomous workplaces are within reach, which will feature projected screens and keyboards, reclassifying what role it plays in the real estate industry. Technology that was once thought to be wizardry or magic, is now expected. According to Liebman, corporations should be asking “are you keeping up with the pace of change around you?”