Better Multifamily Living Through AI

We’re not flying our cars between apartment communities, but generative AI is rocketing the industry ahead. And business will be better for it.

Editorial Director Suzann D. Silverman

One Halloween, back in my elementary school days, I dressed up as a robot. I made my costume out of a box, painted silver, with all kinds of knobs glued on. (I’m sure my mom helped me—I didn’t inherit her artistic ability.) Back then, I was already outdated, as robot standards went—much more like the character in “Lost in Space” than Dr. Theopolis from “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” both of which were part of our regular TV lineup.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we’re a lot closer to Buck Rogers territory, although the robot isn’t the one in charge (not yet, anyway!). Generative artificial intelligence has advanced significantly in the past couple of years, opening doors to all kinds of possibilities not only to improve efficiency, productivity and accuracy but to create, predict and experiment more easily than ever before.

We’re advancing from chatbots to textbots, from tracking to measuring. AI can even anticipate repairs and predict which amenities residents will use the most, as Jeffrey Steele enumerates in his feature identifying the “Top 10 Uses of AI in Multifamily.” And those are only the most recently determined benefits—it’s a sure bet there’ll be more.

The question now being simultaneously asked is where to draw the line. Not only what can AI do, but what should it do. ChatGPT-written college essays were the first alarm bell to sound. Novelists, screenwriters and actors have all expressed concern about being replaced or even impersonated. A warning issued by a group of tech company executives led to President Joe Biden’s recent executive order regulating its use and recommendation for Congress to pursue further boundaries.

Of course, new technology comes with risks. That goes with the territory. There are also shortcomings that will necessitate careful awareness and evaluation, correction and prioritization. But at the same time, staff will have more time to dedicate to decision making, creative thinking and connecting with residents, along with other critical people skills.

They will also have time to reevaluate older strategies and processes that were sidelined in the pursuit of new technology but may still be relevant. There may even be added value in coupling together the old and the new, essentially 1+1=3.

It’s an exciting time for the multifamily industry, as we explore new possibilities for cost savings, growth opportunities and better service to residents. Let’s move forward together.

Read the November 2023 issue of MHN.

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