How AI is Pissing Me Off

I asked Microsoft Copilot, their AI app, to generate an image of a computer falling on a person.

As we head into 2024, we are being bombarded with stories on the benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence. OK,  I fully intend to give in and embrace AI in the coming year. But not before I let you know how AI is pissing me off. First is the relatively harmless, but highly annoying use of AI in property descriptions. Later, I will show where it can get dangerous.

I am both a producer and a consumer of property descriptions. Whether I am reviewing properties for the  tenants I represent, or  marketing properties to end-users and brokers, I look for concise and informative property descriptions. I wrote up an example in 24 words:

“A 2,000 square foot Class-A office in Downtown Miami 2 miles from I-95 with 5 windowed offices and an open area in move-in condition.”

I’ve been experimenting with Chat GPT and asked it to write a property description of the same space. I got 381 words. I am seeing this more and more online. Here are the highlights shortened to “only” 177 words:I can easily identify a Chat GPT property description. It uses a lot of words that say nothing useful. Even when I can’t tell, I know the brokers and I know they don’t write that well. So AI may be helping the broker, but most of us don’t have the time to read 381 words to find out what we can know in 23.

A picture worth 381 words? This is an AI generated image based on my description.

But Chat GPT is not only making your local broker sound like a Madison Avenue copy editor, it is doing the same for internet scam artists. We’ve all seen the poorly written appeals to help transfer the assets of a Nigerian Prince into a US Bank account. But here is part of a response I recently received to an online listing: 

“Thanks for your response. Having reviewed the property extensively, I have weighed the price and I am willing to pay the listing price. The purchase would be a cash buy and I would make a reasonable deposit immediately through my investment broker. I will like to settle all the upfront full payment via a lawyer that you will refer to your company trust account where funds will be held.”

The email was eloquently worded and looked completely professional. But it raised a couple of immediate questions, and I wasn’t about to provide any banking details.

First, there are a lot of contingencies on this deal. No one is going to make a full-price offer without asking a lot of questions. Secondly, the offer came through a platform that has produced other questionable inquiries. I won’t name names. But when I forwarded it to my account manager, she let me know that this user had been removed from the platform for suspicious activity.  

Obviously, the online marketing platforms need to be more careful about allowing access. But there is nothing to stop this hacker from signing on with a different email in the future. What is most alarming about the email is that it was likely aided by AI. That is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the potential dark side of AI that we are all being warned about. I am not saying that the world is about to be overtaken by AI generated robots, but we need to keep our guards up against unscrupulous uses of the new technology.

But just as I am venting about AI, I sat in on a webinar last month about AI and commercial real estate. There is no doubt that AI can help me in prospecting for new business, creating web content and images (no, this post is really me) and facilitating communication.

Looking for 30,000 sf of Cold Storage in South Florida? Click the AI generated image above.

Just like the computer itself, AI is a valuable tool can be used as an extension of myself to make me more productive and provide better service to my clients. And while AI may not write the best property descriptions, we must keep reminding ourselves that AI today is the worst it will ever be and it will continue to improve on a daily basis.  

So yes, AI is pissing me off. But I have been at the cutting edge of technology in Commercial Real Estate for over 3 decades. I understand that embracing and applying new technology is a key component of what sets me apart in my business.  I have included my first attempt at using AI in my business. This is for an email blast on a cold storage space I am leasing in South Florida. Thanks for reading and wishing you the best for 2024!

About Ken

Sr. Vice President Brokerage and Tenant Representation at LEVY REALTY ADVISORS, INC.
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