Property industry graduates need to utilise AI not solely rely on it

01 March 2024 | News

Lincoln University academics are warning relying only on AI technology in the property industry could lead to some poor decision making rather than assisting it.

Professor Graham Squires and Dr David Dyason say in an editorial insight piece in the Journal of Property Investment & Finance, the need to cultivate property graduates who can use, rather than solely rely on such technology to shape the trajectory of the industry is crucial.

Dr Dyason

The advent of big data, data science, machine learning and, most recently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and language models, such as ChatGPT, has significantly influenced various sectors of the economy, including education and property, they stated.

The researchers present two scenarios of AI application. The first is AI-directed, representing a scenario where the user relies on pre-specified knowledge with an overreliance on AI output.  

Professor Squires

“When the user has limited or no understanding of the subjects, and makes use of AI-directed output, it is likely to lead to a lack in problem-solving, rigour and understanding when probed about decisions," Dr Dyason said.

“Even more alarming is the ability of the technology to provide answers to users that have no relevant industry knowledge and their possible application of such results.

“In other words, without industry specific knowledge, the user would not be in a position to determine the factual nature of the result. An Inexperienced property professional who is confronted with a decision-making situation should not turn to AI-directed knowledge for guidance, quite the opposite."

In the second scenario, the researchers argue users should acknowledge their limitations and upskill before making decisions informed by AI.

As AI technology adoption increases in the property industry, graduates should be able to apply knowledge, use AI responsibly, and be AI-empowered, Dr Dyason said.

“The use of AI tools combined with an informed, knowledgeable industry professional can utilise the outputs in such a way that it provides for intelligent decision-making.”

They argue that effective problem-solving within property requires, at least, some level of numeracy and writing skills for property professionals, which AI cannot substitute for.

“The wide-ranging aspects of the property industry necessitate an education approach that incorporates project-based coursework to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of property assets and markets,” he said.

“Active involvement in case studies and field trips are also necessary for students to acquire practical knowledge and industry insights.

“This experiential learning approach enables students to develop valuable skills and experience. In scenarios where students use AI technology, they can effectively leverage their acquired experience when using AI tools.”

He said the significance of nurturing and cultivating the next generation of professionals within the industry through higher education has never been more crucial.

“Encouraging undergraduate students to actively engage with the industry by participating in industry events and tackling real-world problems is imperative,” Dr Dyason added.

“Such interactions allow graduates to be well-prepared to navigate the evolving AI landscape with proficiency and ensure decisions are made by AI-enabled graduates.”