The Ethical Dilemmas of Modern Real Estate Technology

The other day as I sat in the airport waiting to board my plane, I stumbled across Paige Marie Pitcher’s Ted Talk Driverless Cars: breaking the fundamental rule of real estate. In her talk, Paige discussed the opportunities and impact self-driven cars will make on city infrastructure, real estate, and lifestyle. Emotionally, she ended her presentation saying how driverless cars could allow her friend who is bound to a wheelchair regain mobility.

Driverless Cars. VR. Social Media. Machine Learning. Every day, we have new technology. Naturally, we look at their opportunities. But how often do we stop to think of their ethical repercussions? 

Iyad Rahwan, an associate professor at MIT, posed a scenario:

It’s 2030 and you’re a passenger in your new driverless car. Your car experiences a mechanical failure and is unable to stop. The car now must decide to either run over several pedestrians crossing the street or drive into a building which would kill you the passenger. 

As we move to technology automation and artificial intelligence in real estate we face the question, on which foundation do we build the moral and ethical decision making of our technology? Do we tell our technology to base decisions on utilitarianism, ownership rights or government mandates? There’s no right answer.

On our blog, we’ve discussed the temptations of the ‘Technology Shiny Penny’. New technology brings change. New Features. Opportunities.  But it brings with it ethical and moral questions that make us need to stop, think and consider the following: What moral and ethical implications do these technologies bring us, our employees and our business?

For an overview of new technology impacting real estate today, download our free eBook Techenvy.