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‘AI will transform real estate’

As the pace of change accelerates and technology increasingly drives future demand, artificial intelligence will transform real estate, a leading market expert told Real Asset Media’s Proptech, Data & Innovation Summit in London.

‘We are moving into an AI world everywhere and affecting all sectors, said Antony Slumbers, CEO, PropAI. ‘Offices built around old work will soon be obsolete. Most Asian companies are already using flexible space because businesses don’t want an office but a productive workforce, which is all about IT skills, data science, workplace design, hospitality capabilities and human resources’.

Real Asset Media Proptech Summit 2019 Keynote: Antony Slumbers, CEO, PropAI

The real estate industry is no longer about buildings, as the trend is to move from selling a product to delivering a service and from wanting ownership to requesting access. 

‘When user experience is what matters, who creates it matters,’ he said. ‘It is the end of valuation by spreadsheet, because you cannot value a building  based on numbers when what counts is the operator who can generate more money from the asset’.

There are signs that the office sector is responding to the challenge, while the retail sector is 5 years behind and has been slow in adapting. ‘There is a huge opportunity in fulfilment centres that allow quick deliveries, but whatever your retail strategy is, you need to be data-rich’.

Residential will also see massive change, as all areas can be improved by tech, from planning, design and construction all the way to living, as different kinds of products are created for different customers, from students to single professionals, from families to pensioners.

Already it is estimated that 49% of all the activities people are paid to do can be automated  by currently demonstrable tech. ‘Machine learning, in particular, is the most important general-purpose tech of our era, comparable to electricity, the internet and the combustion engine in terms of importance and reach,’ said Slumbers. 

AI algorithms will be to workers what tractors were to farmers, Slumbers said, automating the structured, repeatable, predictable jobs that were done by people. The good news is that the result will be ‘a more human-centric society. Machines cannot do empathy, creativity or abstract thinking, so people will focus on jobs that involve design, imagination, creation, intuition, innovation and judgment’.

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