This is not an exhaustive or a complete subject. It is likely to change over time, with edits, additions and deletions, and is simply a collection of my thoughts based on many years of experience. You should follow your instincts, and you must always seek your own professional advice.
Technology has so many uses and advantages in every aspect of modern life. We take it for granted and we all benefit from it in some way or other. In surveying, the days of using a camera with film are long gone. The use of a typewriter to noisily, and slowly, create a report on paper which then needs to be sent in the mail seems now like something from long ago. We now have apps on our phone that can do basic, but perfectly usable, Lidar scans in just seconds. The use of technology is here to stay.
The use of AI, AR, VR and other variations was once the world of the gaming culture but it is now being introduced into everyday life. We can put on a headset and explore the possibility of a new kitchen or bathroom that we might want to purchase, for example.
Take this innocent use one step further and we can be digitally transformed into any building of our choice or anywhere in the world we would like to explore. All it needs is data to create the 3D visual world.
All of this sounds great, and it is, but there is a potential side that we should be cautious of and a side that is being developed by AI experts right now.
Just think about this. What if there was a handheld device/scanner that someone (anyone) could hold and walk around any building with. The person needs no skills or qualifications. The device scans the building inside and out. The data is then used with the AI software to detect building defects, provide property valuations and automatically generate a written report. This is not such a far-fetched fantasy as it might sound and it is close to being a reality.
It should worry us all. There is already an increased use of automated valuations for property within the residential mortgage market and this is especially the case for lower ‘loan to value’ cases. Automated mortgage valuations has been increasingly used over the last 5 – 10 years and it can greatly speed up decision making in what can often be a delay in the house-buying chain.
The concept that software might be developed to identify building defects, make an assessment of that defect and then automatically generate a report is frightening. The total absence of a highly trained professional to make an assessment on a building is not far from being a reality right now. This should worry us all not simply from a jobs or employment perspective but also from a consumer perspective.
Buying a house is a stressful time for many and there is already an issue of consumer confidence over the quality of house surveys and this is especially prevalent for those who use the large ‘corporate’ survey firms who focus on the quantiity of surveys done each week and less about the quality. This is already a problem and the profession is already trying to deal with unqualified people doing inspections that are then ‘signed off’ by a qualified person in the office. Take this one step further and it is not such a big step to foresee that AI technology would be used by some firms to automate and speed up this process even faster.
I find this greatly worrying and I hope that such technology is never used within the heritage sector for consumers who are seeking specialist advice.
This is developing technology and we all need to be aware of just how quickly it is being introduced into our lives – often without us even knowing it is there.
Disclaimer: Anything posted in this Blog is for general information only and it is not in any way intended to provide any advice, legal or otherwise, on any general or specific matter that you can rely on. You should always seek your own legal and surveying advice.
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