The Future: Augmented Reality and Generative AI

A photo that “looks so real” may not be, and the ability to manipulate images or create whole new ones can now redefine RE photos and even virtual tours.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Augmented reality and image generation through generative artificial intelligence are two emerging technologies that could play a key role in the future of real estate, according to experts who spoke at the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) convention in Orlando last fall.

Dan Weisman, NAR’s director of emerging technology, said augmented reality could become a mainstream tool that creates a new experience for home buyers and sellers. He noted that virtual tours are often used in the real estate industry, but augmented reality may change how consumers preview a potential house.

“Through the use of a phone, augmented reality will allow us to scan rooms, get dimensions, detect objects, remove them and even replace them with a décor that may be more fitting to your client. This technology will create a totally different virtual experience for a potential buyer of a home,” Weisman said.

Weisman also discussed how the evolution of artificial intelligence has allowed consumers to easily create and manipulate photos. He showcased examples of tools like Dall-E 2 and Google Imagen, which can take a text prompt and use artificial intelligence to produce and alter images with an extraordinary degree of photorealism.

“There is power in this technology that ties into the real estate space,” Weisman said. “It could have an impact on renovation previews, listing photo modifications and stock photo generation.”

Weisman showed an example photo of a backyard with a sandbox. With a simple text prompt, the sandbox was removed. With an additional prompt, it was replaced by a fire pit.

“This technology will give you the power to change photos to better portray what your client may envision for the space,” he said.

Matt Troiani, NAR senior counsel, director legal affairs, shared copyright best practices and discussed some of the legal and ethical ramifications the new technology may create. He said the new tools currently pose more questions than answers as the law tries to keep up with technology.

“The biggest takeaway is to be very mindful about how you use these tools,” Troiani said. “Ensure that you have copyright protection for the works that you are creating. Make sure you have a directive element over the generative AI, and be careful not to infringe on someone else’s copyrighted work.”

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