By Denise Pied, Vice President, Northstar Project & Real Estate Services
Artificial intelligence (AI) has woven itself into the fabric of our lives over the past several decades, with its origins dating back to the 1960s. Despite this extensive history, most of us are blissfully unaware of the extent to which AI influences our daily routines. From call centers directing us to automated prompts instead of live operators to chat boxes on websites guiding us through a series of questions, AI's subtle presence is ubiquitous. However, November 2023 marked a groundbreaking juncture with the advent of Generative AI – a pivotal moment that introduced a new dimension to artificial intelligence.
The defining characteristic of Generative AI lies in its ability to create something entirely novel – to generate content that didn't previously exist. It harnesses the vast expanse of information available on the internet, employing digital analysis and aggregation techniques to predict the next likely word in a sentence, sentence in a paragraph, and beyond. This generative capability isn't limited to text; it extends to imagery and videos, enabling the creation of unprecedented songs, photos, and art forms.
The implications of Generative AI are profound and far-reaching, heralding both promising advancements and concerning pitfalls, including for the corporate real estate community.
- Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings: Repetitive tasks and mundane busywork could become relics of the past as Generative AI takes over such responsibilities. This automation allows human resources to be allocated more strategically, enhancing productivity across industries. For example, AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data, including historical property values, market trends, and economic indicators, to provide more accurate property valuations and investment projections. This helps investors and developers make informed decisions about buying or selling commercial properties.
- Property Management: AI-driven property management platforms can optimize building operations and maintenance. They can monitor equipment and systems for predictive maintenance, automate routine tasks like energy management and security, and enhance tenant experiences through smart building technologies.
- Space Utilization and Optimization: AI-based sensors and analytics can track the usage of office spaces and common areas in real-time. This data can be used to optimize space allocation, reduce energy consumption, and improve the overall workplace experience.
- Rapid Content Production: Companies can produce content swiftly and inexpensively. From marketing copy to news articles, Generative AI can churn out material, meeting the insatiable appetite for information in today's digital age. AI can even help automate lease document processing, including extraction of key terms and clauses, tracking lease expirations and rent increases, and ensuring compliance. This reduces administrative workload and minimizes errors.
- Legal and Due Diligence: Similarly, AI can review legal documents, contracts, and due diligence materials more efficiently than humans, helping legal teams identify potential risks and streamline the transaction process.
- Job Creation: As this technology evolves, new roles will emerge. The concept of a "Prompt Engineer" – an individual adept at formulating queries to elicit optimal results from Generative AI – highlights the potential for innovative career paths.
Copyright Infringement: Generative AI blurs the lines of intellectual property and copyright. The new content it generates might inadvertently replicate existing works, raising significant legal concerns.
Dissemination of Inaccurate Information: By sourcing information from the internet, Generative AI could perpetuate erroneous data, spreading misinformation to unsuspecting users.
Lack of Source Credibility: The AI might credit fake or incorrect sources, further propagating inaccuracies and eroding trust in information.
Unyielding Goals: Generative AI lacks the capacity to alter its objectives, even when its responses veer into unexpected or undesirable territories.
Unconscious Bias: Trained on historical data, the AI may inadvertently exhibit biases present in the source material, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and viewpoints.
Plagiarism: The thin line between original content and AI-generated material could lead to rampant plagiarism concerns in various domains.
Privacy Concerns: Generative AI's adeptness at data aggregation could lead to the unintended extraction and dissemination of Personal Identification Information (PII), compromising user privacy and security.
Harmful Content Generation: Just as Generative AI can create constructive content, it can also be harnessed to generate harmful or malicious material, posing risks to individuals and society.
Amid these considerations, it's crucial to comprehend that Generative AI isn't inherently intelligent in the human sense. It lacks the discernment of causality and operates as a resource gathering tool. Its predictions are based on analytics, extrapolating from existing content to create the "next likely" iteration, be it a word, an image, or an architectural design.
In conclusion, the arrival of Generative AI marks an epochal shift in the realm of artificial intelligence. Its generative prowess promises a wave of innovation, expediting content creation and engendering novel opportunities. However, this revolutionary technology is not without its challenges, necessitating a meticulous approach to mitigate its potential pitfalls. Striking a balance between harnessing its potential and safeguarding against its risks will be pivotal in shaping the trajectory of Generative AI's influence on society.
A note to our readers:
This article utilized AI tech (Chat GPT) in its creation. It was as easy as plugging hand scribed notes from the July 12, 2023 CoreNetNE Real Advantage Dinner on the topic of AI into the query and waiting a few minutes for the article to be produced. Subsequent fact checking confirmed that the tech accurately used the content provided to write a well-organized, grammatically correct and journalistically sound article with just a few minor edits. But the biggest win was the huge time savings achieved by the “author”!