With so many services now classifying themselves as AI, it’s hard to tell whether or not they’re actually based in tech, or just using a catchy buzzword to distract us from the wizards behind the curtain.
In 2018, we launched BetterBot.ai, and began marketing our product with the term “AI” thrown in to any material we created. As we continued to develop our product further though, we soon realized that AI is more than just a simple buzzword to slap onto a piece of collateral. It’s a term that’s often used when referring to the Natural Language Processing (NLP) software that builds the foundation of many chatbots and other industry tools, but what does it really mean? Today, we’re going to dive into what this tech really is, and the most common misconceptions about AI in multifamily.
Natural Language Processing & AI
Put simply, NLP is the layer that communicates between computers and the humans interacting with them. Where AI comes in is through the process of machine learning. This process organizes the information collected from NLP and puts it into action. In the chatbot space today, this part is often overlooked due to the sheer complexity of this process and lack of understanding of its potential.
The thing is, there is no true 100% AI chatbot or leasing tool (yet). Every product currently on the market requires some degree of human assistance and intervention.
As conversational designer Maggie Jabczynski put it, “Over time, a bot can better understand its users as it receives more and more word combinations. Then – thanks to human intervention – it connects sentences from users in the chat to correct answers.” This learning curve is one of the many fallbacks to bot tech that relies on NLP. Our language is constantly evolving, so the work of the AI is never truly finished.
Common misconceptions about AI in multifamily
1. All chatbots use AI
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are a variety of different chatbot types that all use different technologies and levels of AI to engage with people. For example, BetterBot is a guided conversation bot, which leads users through a branched series of questions and responses depending on their query.
2. AI replaces the need for human intervention
AI and AI-adjacent tech like chatbots have gotten a bad rap in the past decade or so, and all because of the misconception that these technologies are out to replace human workers and jobs. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Like we mentioned before, there is no 100% AI-based chatbot, which means that this tech will always have to be guided by trained (human) professionals.
3. Only AI chatbots can give creative replies
One of the great things about guided conversation chatbots is that they can be programmed to tackle any question or query, all with a unique voice. Want your bot to be straight to the point? Cool. Want to inject a little more humor and friendliness into your bot? You totally can. However you want to get creative with your bot, you can – no AI needed.
4. All it takes to train AI is uploading your website resources
One of the biggest misconceptions about AI in multifamily is that training an AI-based or NLP chatbot just involves info-dumping all of your resources and FAQs into a database. While that would be amazing and save us all so much time, unfortunately that is not how it actually works. There’s a lot involved with creating a functional AI architecture, and most property management teams either a) don’t have the resources or b) have no actual need to invest in that.
5. Your bot technology can self-improve
If you build your chatbot on intelligent software, it should be able to continually improve upon itself without human intervention, right? Not exactly. While neural networks can learn on their own, there are no bots currently available that can learn independently from past conversations without some kind of human intervention.
As we continue to grow the BetterBot.ai brand, we want to be intentional about emphasizing transparency – not only in our process, but in our data. We believe there’s no better way to understand how humans work and interact with each other than to have humans, not AI, be the masterminds behind our chatbot. No AI, no robots, just human-generated guided conversations that have a proven track record for converting prospects into renters.