I used AI to write this… Honestly!

I used AI to write this… Honestly!

In the world of marketing a brand or a product, it’s becoming easier and easier to BS a sector into believing pigs can fly or aliens exist (although apparently, they might!!). Ownership and accountability of words used to promote and sell a dream are not always what they seem.

Let me explain:-

Company X state: “Our AI technology can manage the day-to-day tasks of rents, mutual exchanges and other day-to-day processes. It’s an amazing new technology that can free up all your time to focus on other things.” Really!!!!

So, applied Artificial Intelligence requires a ‘model’ that has data to train on and then to make decisions on. It is very unlikely that if you took all the data you have, and fed it to a model, it would just spit out two customers and state:

“Hey, this is R2D2, Mildred would want to mutually exchange with Jim”.

What actually happens is Mildred completes a form that states what she wants in an exchange, Jim does the same thing and then that information is placed in the housing management database and ctrl F function later, Jim’s 1-bed house in postcode X is suitable for Mildred’s desires.

There is no AI in this process. Now I am not saying AI does not exist in Housing. It could, but what I am saying is right now, it’s a BUZZ WORD to impress. Like dressing up like Spiderman for a Marvel conference, everyone there thinks you look cool, but you’re not Spiderman.

There’s a flip side to all this buzz when you delve deeper into the use cases. I recently read a study that the medical profession had done with AI and identifying cancer patients, which at the time was deemed pretty successful. However, the AI model, after a deep dive into its saliency methods revealed that the single most influential thing the model was looking for in a picture was the presence of a ruler. The ruler became the marker for malignancy. It’s because that’s the easy route rather than telling the difference.

Let’s be very real when we look at the options available to us and the data we decide to use to push the boundaries of technology. We have to appreciate that deep neural networks have a solid reputation for being black boxes, meaning there is a real lack of transparency on how AI processes and solves problems, applying this to people’s homes with no real control could open a gateway to further issues down the line.

The housing sector is very good at capturing data and managing most of the things that matter. I know lots of very competent people who can sit around a table and discuss the output material which would need technology to glean but that doesn’t mean ‘the technology’ gleans this. It means people use the tech to their advantage, like using a hammer to punch a nail in rather than a spoon or walking a dog with a lead rather than your hands around its neck!!

Don’t be led down the garden path. Understand what you need and how you need to get it. Don’t let marketing and sales guff provide a false sense of accomplishment.

Ryan Dempsey