Tech in CRE

Should you be worried about AI taking your job?

December 19, 2018

Professionals in every industry are asking the same question: “Will artificial intelligence take my job?”

In recent articles from BBC Future and Propmodo, the authors ponder the future of some professions, from semi-truck drivers to CRE data analysts. Here, we discuss what we think AI-driven automation really means for the future of CRE brokers and other professionals.

Is automation bad for jobs?

In the BBC Future article, “Will machines eventually take on every job?”, truck drivers are cited as an example of a currently sought-after career because it remains in-demand, it pays well, it can’t be outsourced and it hasn’t yet been automated. However, self-driving carmakers are working on self-driving semi-trucks.

If semi-trucks became completely automated today, that would put 3.5 million drivers and 5.2 million additional personnel out of their current jobs. Beyond the truck-driving and shipping industry, the article notes that an onslaught of tech breakthroughs could endanger as much as 47 percent of total employment in the US.

This all sounds very negative. But when you consider that 4,000 people die every year due to large truck crashes, and driver error is almost always to blame, tech advancements for semi-trucks are hugely beneficial. Plus, as history shows us, as old jobs disappear, new jobs are created through innovation.

Does real estate tech mean disintermediation for CRE pros?

In another recent article, “Will Real Estate Technology Automate You Out of a Job?”, Propmodo’s Logan Nagel talked to Marc Rutzen, co-founder and CEO of Enodo, a software firm that utilizes machine learning to underwrite multifamily properties.

In the article, Rutzen argues that new tools will allow CRE professionals like data analysts to be better at their jobs than ever before. People who crunch numbers every day will likely soon see their roles morphed into something new. Brokers will also see their roles change as new technology streamlines CRE transactions.

Rutzen says, “For the record, I think there will always be a human component. It will just be a higher-order component. … How do I know how to talk to this guy and this guy and make them come to terms on this? How can a machine do that? It just can’t. … I just think it’ll be more enjoyable to do it in the future when you can focus on the value that really matters.”

So, no matter how much technology and automation progresses, the all-important person-to-person relationship in a CRE transaction will remain. Ultimately, a CRE broker’s survival will depend on changing with the times, accepting and embracing new tools, and being nimble enough to use them to their advantage.

Interested in learning more about what AI will mean for the CRE industry? Download our resource, “Demystifying the future of artificial intelligence: commercial real estate and the tech of the future.”

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