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We are revisiting a few key presentations from the 2022 RESO Fall Conference ahead of our push toward the 2023 RESO Spring Conference in San Antonio, Texas (April 18–20), including “What You Say is What You Get – Advanced AI’s Impact on Listing Photos,” a fascinating presentation about artificial intelligence (AI) from Dave Conroy, Director of Emerging Technology at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and current member of the RESO Board of Directors. | WATCH THE VIDEO (16:13 minutes)

“The next big thing will start out looking like a toy.” – Chris Dixon

Given that opening quote, the premise of Conroy’s talk about new developments in AI can be summed up in one word: Wait.

  • Wait for the shiny object to become the daily need.
  • Wait for the first few iterations of AI products to mature.
  • Wait for the products to become easier to understand and use.

Version 1.0 of any new software has a tendency to get dismissed, because it often falls short of a user’s actual need. Conroy said this should be considered a typical reaction, as people have a tendency to fail to anticipate just how rapidly tech can and will improve once it is introduced.

For example, the concept of stable diffusion is already here, affordable and easy to use. Stable diffusion is a deep-learning, text-to-image model that has generated detailed images based on simple text descriptions. It can generate stunning image-to-image translations from a text prompt. Extremely realistic images and artwork are already being created by AI tools. 

AI used to be accessible to only a select few, but now nearly anyone can harness its power. AI is already dramatically impacting the art world. “It has been deemed that images that are generated by AI are not copyrighted,” said Conroy.

Conroy showed off some of these impressive images created from three amusing descriptions:

  • a transparent sculpture of a duck made out of glass
  • a cute corgi that lives in a house made out of sushi
  • teddy bears swimming at the Olympics 400m Butterfly event

While each of those images was a crowd pleaser, the relevance to RESO standards begins to take shape when you consider the real estate uses for:

  • renovation previews
  • listing photo modifications
  • stock photo generation

Consider the following text prompts:

  • a living room with two white armchairs with a painting of the Roman Colosseum mounted above a modern fireplace
  • a Cape house, 2 or 3 stories, with a moderately-steep-pitched gabled roof, a large central chimney and very little ornamentation

Misrepresentation of listing photos is a serious issue for MLSs, brokers and consumers. “We might need AI to tell what photos have been edited by AI,” said Conroy.

The Research & Development Workgroup has done some great groundwork around this. A new field has been added to the Media Resource for the future release of Data Dictionary 2.1 called MediaAlteration, the definition of which will read:

Photos may be enhanced, altered or even created by manual or computer drafting. This list of lookup values is used to identify when any such alteration or fabrication of the photo has occurred. It is recommended that you check with your local laws and policies on the allowed alterations.

It will have the following lookups:

  • Virtual Staging – Item Addition
  • Decluttered – Item Removed
  • Twilight Conversion
  • Virtual Renovation
  • Virtual Representation – To Be Built
  • Virtual Representation – Under Construction
  • Model Home
  • None
  • Other Media Modification
  • Virtual Enhancements

AI products may develop faster than HI (Human Intelligence) realize and could quickly become more a part of our everyday lives, but RESO is aware of the potential pitfalls of AI and is staying on top of it.

“You’re never going to be able to believe anything you see online ever again,” said Conroy. He might just be right.

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