Authenticity in a Time of AI

By Melanie Robitaille, Sr. Staff Writer & Graphic Designer

When was the last time you looked beyond the fun and convenience of today’s many generative AI offerings?

Ethics pits the rule of law against your innate human conscience. It’s a pause, which some industry early AI adapters are now taking, leading to subsequent questions surrounding issues like copyright, intellectual property, and attribution.

The Good

In a recent National Association of REALTOR’S® 2023 Proptech Forecast on generative AI, they touch on several new frontiers of technology that will and are already changing the face of the industry for the better. The consensus seemed to be that the amazing thing all this technology does is “democratize creation”, which greatly levels the playing field.

Take software like Styldod for example, which is in the process of MLS® integration already, and will allow consumers to open images in online listings and re-imagine them with different furniture settings, paint colors, and more. Sounds amazing right? What about image generating platforms like Stable Diffusion that can create visuals of anything you could dream of or ask for? Then of course there is ChatGPT, an open-source text counterpart to the above platforms. It can help anyone, write anything from books to training manuals, and marketing scripts to market reports. And don’t forget Krisp and Supernormal that help with meetings. One for noise cancelling; the other for notation.

The Bad

There are both legal and ethical issues that arise out of using content from these platforms in business. As good as it all is, the pace at which this is unfolding has regulators and law makers panting in the dust, trying to keep up. Many applications have called into question copyright and permissions, to the point where content licenses are being re-written or written anew, in an attempt to get a handle on what feels like the wild west where anyone can generate anything using bits and pieces of existing digital data.

NAR’s® proptech panel dived deep into the murky waters of ethics, and whether or not AI should be attributed as the source when generating content. Furthermore, whether you choose to do that or not, could it harm your credibility, something there’s still no real data on in order to understand.

When Panelist, Jeff Turner, creates content featuring both generative AI copy and images he uses a footnote he shared: This post (enter context of post here) was primarily generated by (insert AI platform here). It was grammar checked by (insert AI platform here), edited, expanded, and validated by a real human. The image was generated by (insert AI platform here) using the prompt (insert full prompt here).”

Public opinion is still very mixed on the subject of AI, and as such NAR® panelists also agreed that the real merit of it still lies in the knowledge base of the user behind the prompts that create the content. In other words, you must be able to walk the talk.

The Ugly

Fellow Co-Panelist, Ines Hegedus-Garcia, sees generative AI doesn’t understand certain market sensitivities and strongly advocates for proactive usage. Like with anything else, results must be re-read. Everything must be fact-checked, including the reputation of sources. She also encourages re-writes as savvy folks can spot a bot-written piece with an inauthentic voice from a mile away.

“Lazy” users, or “bad humans” ultimately become the real concerns in the end, as Jeff plainly admits in the forecast saying, “Bad humans can do bad things with any tool, regardless of how good it is. So, I fear bad humans. I also fear bad iterations of artificial intelligence that are trained specifically to do bad things…History shows me that good humans typically win out in these situations. That’s my hope, that good humans will win out, but I have serious concerns about this technology in the hands of the wrong people and not being able to control it.”

As geeked out as the panelists and Moderator, David Conroy, were by all the possibilities, even they knew there’s technology coming that they cannot even fathom in this moment. The great news is, if you’re wondering where to start, are looking for a trustworthy source to guide you, or just want a pulse on what’s up and coming, NAR® also hosts their annual iOi Summit, for all things innovation, opportunity, and investment. Featuring keynote speakers, networking sessions, startup pitch battles, and innovator of the year awards, the iOi Summit is touted as the go-to real estate tech event of 2024. The 2023 event even featured EXIT’s own Marki Lemons-Ryhal on the main stage.

Technology is clearly here to stay, and when it comes to AI it looks like the irony is that it all boils down to what kind of humans we are. It’s a stark reminder to really think about the fine line between what we can do vs. what we should do.

For more articles on navigating the new frontiers facing the real estate industry, get your free copy of the latest EXIT Achiever magazine online, or text ACHIEVER to 85377 today!

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