Artificial Intelligence is the technology and business topic of the decade. With advances in AI- both real and rhetorical, realized and claimed- new things are possible in almost all business scenarios. Traversing business-to-business and consumer scenarios, AI has provided a silver bullet of sorts to organizations world-wide. Now, such claims are rightly met with skepticism. Silicon Valley’s force-field has created so many overpromises and in the light of such hyperbolic pronouncements, very few results to match; however, there have been breakthrough products and services that have altered the way billions of people live, work, play, and exist. Whatever one’s politics and whatever one’s view of environmental stewardship, it would be a fool’s errand to deny that products, services, and concepts like Microsoft Office, Apple iPhone, Google Search, or Amazon’s one-day fulfillment for e-commerce have created an indelible imprint on society. Same with the work of hundreds of companies- less storied but equally important- like Xerox, IBM, Sybase, Adobe, Oracle and others. AI represents a phase-transition, a punctuating mark in the general equilibrium of progress in technology and business. Thus, the comment about AI being a silver bullet. I amended the claim, however with “of sorts.” For indeed there are no panaceas, no perfect products, no infallible theories, and no permanent fixes to any of the vexing problems in any particular vertical industry. But there are foundational technologies and paradigms that give us the best shot at speedily solving problems at the scale and in the time-frames needed to enact real, even fundamental change. I argue that in the world’s largest Asset Class- residential real estate or “housing”- that AI is just such a foundational paradigm. Take the US Housing Sector for instance. There are 103 Million residential plots in the US with an aggregate value in excess of $32 Trillion. Depending on the year, about 5 Million homes are bought and sold every year, though many other monetizable transactions take place- including refinancings. The housing ecosystem has a variety of players, from both the private and public sector and appears labyrinthine to those who don’t work in the sector. For most buyers, even questions as simple as “Why is this house worth X?” remain unanswered. Two different housing “experts” will provide two different answers and ten experts will provide ten answers. Moreover, even if consistent, acceptable answers were available, they would be available long-after the time frame in which they were needed. Here, AI comes in- speed and scale can be consistent with deep context and multivariate factoring. I am not qualified to offer a primer on AI. I am on the commercial side of the industry, but as I look through the looking glass and see not only what could be but what has already been done, I remember the image of the silver bullet. Though an imperfect metaphor, it provides the hope and promise that we can democratize and transform the world’s biggest Asset Class with AI.
Please email me at [email protected] with comments or your own silver bullet ideas! A nice gift from team Quantarium awaits the sender of the best idea.