Can bots replace humans in multifamily?

Given the attention that AI is receiving lately I’m not surprised to see the elevated levels of anxiety among employees and managers in multifamily. Two weeks ago I was asked to participate in a panel regarding this very question. To nobody’s surprise the conversation took interesting turns as panelists shared their vision of the future. I mean if titans like Jack Ma and Elon Musk can’t agree on the future impact of AI then how can mere mortals like us agree?

Yogi Berra famously said that it’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future. I feel obligated to give it a shot since a lot of the arguments I hear are based on science fiction and less science than fiction at that.

AI bots are not approaching human intelligence! Currently AI is nothing more than a collection of algorithms fed by large amounts of data and processed by powerful computers. That means that even the smartest AI cannot even come close to a human in natural language understanding. AI machines are not capable of common sense, flexible thinking or empathy. General AI resembling what you see in movies is still not on the horizon as AI is in it’s infant stages.

AI bots will require a rethink to management practices in multifamily. Now that we concluded that AI is not as smart as humans let’s also agree that AI is better than humans at certain tasks. Bots never get tired, can efficiently talk to multiple people at once and crush repetitive tasks. The questions becomes on how to best structure this human and AI coexistence in order to allow humans to concentrate on higher level tasks while the bots handle the mindless repetitive stuff. It can be a powerful combination!

AI is advancing quickly and will provide a competitive advantage for property management companies. Based on where we are today compared to just a few years ago the progress in AI tools has been nothing short of staggering. This aggressive advancement is fueled by two parallel processes. Improvement in AI technology and adoption by end users who have come to prefer interactions with bots vs. humans.

I want to encourage multifamily managers to start exploring solutions today because it can take time to find the perfect human/bot balance. However, when done correctly AI bots can supercharge your organization and hugely improve your interaction with future and current residents. And yes, humans are safe for now.

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