Not a single person in the header of this article is real, they have never been born and have never ever existed, until right now.
The future of A.I. is both amazing and frightening. It can help our lives in so many useful ways and things just get easier, like never having to worry about running out of supplies at work or home, organising appointments or keeping you safe in your home and in the community. But what about the A.I. we aren't considering, like Deep Fakes. These aren't just about copying the identity of a celebrity or head of state, it goes far beyond that and we are teaching A.I. to get smarter.
At the Inman Connect 2019 conference in New York City, there was a lot of discussion surrounding A.I. and how it is helping the property industry; from a personal assistant standpoint and a lead generation perspective. But one of the biggest A.I. growth areas is in pictures and it kind of went unnoticed.
Property TV interviewed Meero and RestB.ai, both very interesting pieces of tech that extract data from images or increase the images appeal. Like detecting high-end appliances in a kitchen shot, long well-lit hallways in a house or marble floors or plush carpets in a large lounge room. The tech behind image detection is astounding and has great use cases for searching for images in the future.
What needs to be explored is what happens when machines learn what makes up an image and how to reassemble the image in a means that may not be accurate or true. Of the past few years, Deep Fakes have become very popular, emulating a celebrity's likeness, even talking on topics that is almost impossible to detect that it is fake. Check out this Bloomberg video on Deep Fakes, youtube.com/watch?v=gLoI9hAX9dw.
The technology is not yet quite up to speed, however, it is getting smarter by the day thanks to machine learning. Detecting fakes is getting harder and harder, there are a few tell-tale signs, but mostly it is difficult to distinguish. Take this Fake detector test, can you spot the fake faces? Check it out whichfaceisreal.com.
It is relatively easy to see how, in the property industry, this type of fake could lead to fake Realtors & brokers being created to defraud and steal from the unsuspecting public. Is this person I am speaking with actually real? But it is not just faces that are being faked.
If you think that Deep Fakes are for celebrity faces, think again. Houses, apartments and rentals are all not immune and being faked right now. Take this fake AirBnB listing, thisrentaldoesnotexist.com. The listing is completely fake, it has never existed before and is created each time the page is refreshed. Try refreshing the page and you'll see a new listing appear.
-> The above property does not exist, it was created by Deep Fake software.
Now things start to get concerning for the property industry. The technology now exists to completely artificially create a property listing from scratch. Of course, many of us would not purchase a property unseen, but some do, specifically investors that are either interstate or international based.
The rental & holiday property markets are those that are most at risk, higher turn over at a lower payment threshold means that consumers are more likely to rent a property online that they might not have seen.
I'll use my own example in this instance. Last year I attended the Myriad conference in Brisbane, Australia, where many converged on the city from afar, I was one of them. I rented, what I thought, was an apartment form a holiday booking site (bookit.com). The pictures and description looked great and the booking site is relatively well known with a good reputation. As it turned out, the listing did not exist. It was a fake listing. Yes, the images in this situation were real, but not from this apartment.
The next generation of fraudulent listings is just beginning and it will be far greater to detect the real from the phoney. A.I. will construct, in real time, completely fake items that it will be impossible to detect with the naked eye. Take the entire classifieds industry of cars, boats, travel, jobs & property, how will you know that the item or person actually exists?
In my opinion, technologies like Blockchain will be what saves the day, confirming the identity of the Realtor/broker and that the property listing actually exists. That is why I built Cioico, to do just that...