Humans are fascinated with the future and technology. Whether it’s the promise of hope and deliverance, or the warning of a dystopian nightmare, there will always be a continued conjecture of the future. And it’s no different with real estate. Real estate experts also like to dream about the future and technology.
Housingwire is one the foremost authorities on anything real estate and housing. It also is a leader in reporting about real estate technology too. This year’s reporting of Housingwire’s Tech100 Awards caught my attention. But it wasn’t about some shiny new technology that is touted to be “the next big thing.” Instead, it was the prediction of where real estate technology is going (Expert: Here’s where real estate tech will be in five years, And will AI replace humans?; housingwire.com December 21, 2018).
Although the article was only one expert’s opinion of the future of real estate technology, it’s telling nonetheless. The expert sees that tech assisted appointments and automatic doors are technological advancements. Additionally, home buyers will be using virtual reality to view homes. He sees that consumer searches are geo-located. Big data will know what they want based on their online behavior, and so on. If his list of the industry’s future tech sounds as if it came from the early 2000’s, you’re not alone. If you think about it, much of his five-year tech advancement prediction has already been around in one form or another.
This expert’s vision of real estate tech in the not-so-distant future is basically more of the same. It makes you wonder if the real estate industry is focused on using shiny things to get people’s attention (but really doesn’t do much to make the transaction easier and safer). This interview also signifies that real estate technology is not exclusive unto itself, but is only the application of existing technology.
Predicting the future is difficult and requires the ability to depict a new paradigm. Spyros Makridakis, an expert in understanding future technology, writes that tech advancement depends on four things; (1) the benefits of the technology, (2) funding to create/implement the technology; (3) growth in funding the technology; and (4) the urgency to solve a problem (Forecasting the Impact of Artificial Intelligence, Part 5:The Emerging and Long-Term Future; Foresight; 2018; issue 51 p36-41). Makridakis’ vision of future technology will not be about shiny things that make you go “ohh,” but instead how you interface with technology.
Makridakis’ prediction for the future is that you won’t be using computer screens like you do today. Instead, you will have a type of wrist device that projects holographic images that will “blend virtual and augmented” reality. These devices will be like your smartphone but allow holographic communications. Additionally, brain-computer interfaces will allow you “unlimited access to computer power.” He believes that this paradigm shift will affect how you work and interact socially. He also believes that robots will become personal assistants and be assigned the boring and uninteresting work.
Based on Makridakis’ futuristic thinking, you might experience a slightly different home buying and selling process. Your augmented brain-computer interface will allow you to process information about a home significantly faster, as well as digitally sign AI prepared contracts and closing documents. And instead of scrolling through pictures or wearing a virtual reality mask, you will be walking through holograms of homes right in our living rooms projected from your wrist.