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Blog Apr 11, 2017

AI for Real Estate – Turning Myth into Reality

LEVERTON’s Managing Director, Abhinav “Abe” Somani, will be speaking at Columbia University on Thursday, April 13th, 2017 at the Wood Auditorium as part of Columbia’s Real Estate Development Lecture Series Spring 2017. The topic is real estate development and Abe will be speaking about the significance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as applied for the real estate market. Ahead of the event we sat down with Abe for a short discussion about AI, its benefits and myths.


Abe, starting from the beginning, how would you explain AI and its subsets, machine and deep learning in layman’s terms?

AI means machines that imitates human capabilities, such as driving cars, reading text or playing chess. Machine learning is a subfield of this, meaning computers that can learn without being explicitly programmed – i.e., we don’t write rules for the program, the program writes its own rules. Deep learning is a class of machine learning algorithms programmed to imitate functions of the human brain, so called artificial neural networks, with the aim of solving complex problems the way human brains do. Deep learning is seen by many as our most realistic progress towards hard AI

How are you bringing AI to real estate?

AI technology can be used to identify and understand text through natural language processing and machine learning. We use this learning technology to automatically extract data from corporate documents, such as real estate leases. Furthermore, our AI-powered platform structures the data and makes it accessible and understandable in 20+ languages, allowing for substantial big data analytics.

Why is this technology so powerful for the real estate sector?

Anyone who has ever reviewed a complex real estate lease understands how painful the process is and how much manual mundane effort is required. In addition to saving time and dollars, there are several other benefits. Access to structured and accurate data is extremely valuable for large organizations by making forecasting and reporting significantly easier. You can use this data to make important insights and business decisions about your real estate portfolio and liabilities.

What’s the most common misunderstanding about AI?

The “SkyNet” syndrome – robots are not taking over anytime soon. We’re in a period of “soft” AI which essentially means the technology is curated for specific, niche tasks that are going to improve business processes. By cutting back on time spent on manually reviewing lease contracts, for example, your people can focus more on revenue generating and value additive activities. In the very near future, data is going to be everything and this is a step in ensuring that you have that data at your fingertips.

Very interesting. Thanks for your time Abe and good luck on Thursday!

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