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The efficiency of computers has enhanced our productivity. Each day, there are new opportunities in our industry utilizing robots and technology. Let's review the history of robots.

What are Robots?
A robot is a machine, programmed with a computer, that is capable of automatically carrying out a complex series of actions. Robots can be guided to perform tasks either by remote control or they can be guided by programming embedded within the robot.

In general, robots are classified based on their capabilities. Industrial robots can be classified into three main categories, based on type of interaction with a human:

  • Automatic robots
  • Bio–technical robots
  • Interactive robots

History of Robotics
The word "robot" was introduced in 1920 as a part of a theatrical play featuring a society who utilized robots that eventually overtook the society. Japan made the first simple robot in 1932.

General Motors began using robotic technology in 1962 to replace employees on their assembly lines for work that was a safety hazard for humans. In 1969, Americans were glued to their televisions to watch the moon landing, where the astronauts relied on robots to assist them.

Robots have been extensively used in highly advanced manufacturing facilities or high–volume assembly lines for a long time. They are efficient and produce high yields or output. The most common use of robots is in the automobile industry where they are used for various applications like welding, painting, etc.

Specific Robot Examples
Vacuums: Robotic vacuums result in a house being a bit more spotless with minimal human input. Today's robotic vacuums clean your house, remember the layout to increase efficiency, dump their own dirt in a receptacle and find their way back to the charging station so they can recharge.

Drones: Powerful tools for both residential and commercial real estate. For residential–focused real estate agents, drones can capture attractive aerial photos and videos that best highlight a property's features and the surrounding area. This is helpful for online buyers who want to familiarize themselves with the area of their potential new home.

In commercial real estate, drones can offer exciting marketing materials, inspect the property for maintenance, assist in site selection and even help surveyors.

Chatbox: A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet. They can be considered a virtual way to communicate with customers through text messages, websites, applications or messengers. According to Chatbots Life, "In 2020, it is predicted that 85% of consumer interactions will be handled without a human agent."

Smart Speakers: The smart speaker, for example Amazon Alexa or Google Home™, is the next frontier for customer service. Providing customers on–demand information, the smart speaker raises the bar in terms of meeting customers where they currently are and more importantly where they will be.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
While robots have aided in efficiency, they have been limited to the tasks they are programmed to perform. With the push towards incorporating artificial intelligence, robots have become smarter. They adapt to unique and individualized situations, making them more useful.

AI helps decision makers quantify data and occurrences, leading to potentially more informed decisions and better results. AI appears in our lives more than you may realize, from helping companies target ads to autonomous cars to the Chatbox on websites that ask, "How can I help today?"

What is AI?
Artificial intelligence, or "machine intelligence," is the process by which human intelligence is mimicked. This can refer to the ability to learn new or improved methods of solving complex problems or the ability to interpret data to provide some useful action or assist with decisions.

Companies have turned to AI to help make better decisions, provide tailored interactions with customers, and assume remedial tasks to free up time and cut costs. The real estate industry is no different.

Lenders, for example, use AI to calculate risk and appraise home values with surprising accuracy. If you use an online real estate listing app and wonder why a certain home was featured, it is likely because the AI thought you might be interested based on your past interactions, in conjunction with the information it "learned" from other users.

While AI is currently not sufficient to replace the person–to–person interactions within real estate transactions it is making a significant impact. AI has stepped in to take over many tasks which do not require a personal touch. AI, along with the robots that perform the tasks, will evolve and assume more responsibilities within the real estate industry. Hopefully, this will free up time for employees to concentrate on the more important task of being customer oriented and motivated.

These technological advancements are not intended to eliminate jobs in our industry but to improve productivity and the overall customer experience. Embrace the changes. Anytime they make you nervous think back to a time before computers and email, and appreciate the enhancements to your day–to–day life. Robots are here to stay and improve our lives.

Article provided by contributing authors:
Diana Hoffman, Corporate Escrow Administrator
and Scott Cummins, Advisory Director
Fidelity National Title Group
National Escrow Administration


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