Artificial Intelligence – the cause or the cure for unemployment

Instead of revising for her impending GCSE’s, my eldest daughter spent most of the last half term holiday watching old films on Netflix! Amongst the movie marathon we watched Will Smith in I, Robot together.  Released 13 years ago this summer, Will struggles with the idea that a robot can reason like a human but still be a machine; it started me thinking, just how close are we to the neo-noir dystopian future the film portrays?

The BBC News website took me to an article entitled Will a robot take your job?”  I typed in “Chartered Surveyor” and it told me that it’s fairly likely (63%) my job will be automated; luckily I’m a project manager so the threat becomes quite unlikely at (7%).  According to the article, about 35% of current jobs are at high risk of being computerised over the next 20 years.

The topic is on the agenda of the currently campaigning parties – workers’ rights versus robo jobs – and we have seen a recent rise of press coverage for self-driving cars. Interestingly, far more blue-collar jobs in the US have been lost to automation than globalisation; the effect on all of our lives will be transformative. In our industry we have seen computers taking over property searches and more recently reading leases. Whilst we probably all identify these trends as threats, how about the positive impacts of AI computers to reduce risks, spot errors and optimise productivity?

AI allows us to track and record data from our buildings to create pictures of normal activity. When the “norm” varies or efficiency drops, this can be picked up immediately and raised by an AI chatbot. Of course we can do this already with a BMS and human monitoring but AI can move beyond the repetitive processes and build a “living” picture of the building, adjusting building systems accordingly and avoiding false alarms.

As we see more smart buildings being delivered to the market, the amount of data and metadata being fed back to real estate teams will be mind blowing – we need AI to analyse, review, and identify trends and issues, otherwise we will be overloaded with data and all benefits lost.

I am in no doubt that AI will change our jobs in real estate and we need to embrace the advantages of automation to improve efficiency, remove repetition, analyse data and reduce risk. To see if you will be part of that brave new world, check out your own job here.


AI, Artificial Intelligence, automation, future of business, job security, robots,
Matt Wilderspin

Matt Wilderspin

Head Of UK Project & Cost Management

+44(0) 20 7182 3725