One of the big areas of discussion in a lot of industries now is whether robots and AI will eventually replace people. Historically this has only really been an issue for manufacturing and other heavy industries but as AI comes more in to its own it may start to replace white collar jobs.
Most professional will of course argue that there is no way a computer can do their job to the same standard but the reality is that in many cases they can. Some experts are predicting that we could see a reduction in the number of bankers by up to 20% in just the next few years. There is already a “chat bot” providing immigration advice. Accountants could be next, so what about surveyors?
With any robot there are two key components, the software and the hardware. Of these it is arguable with software that the biggest leaps are currently being made and where perhaps the technology is closest to being able to replace the surveyor.
Most computer programs essentially work by running calculations. Over the years, the level of complexity these calculations have increased as has the speed at which they can be processed. The end results may be wonderful varied but ultimately all programs run by pulling in data, performing a calculation and producing a result and at a base level this all a surveyor does. The surveyor takes in as much information as possible about a property, processes that information and produces a result. We already have automated valuation models, it is no great leap to see these extended to include condition. As with many things in life it is just a question of time and money, as soon as someone can see enough profit in the idea efforts will be made.
The other side of the equation is the hardware and this is probably going to prove the hard part. Surveyors currently carry several bits of kit you could conceivably fit on to a drone, damp meter, digital camera, laser measurer, even a thermal imaging camera. This drone could then fly around a property taking any number of measurements, readings and photos, even in the area your average surveyor could not reach. The software could then analyse all this data in a matter of moment and you would have a comprehensive report ready even before it had left the property. This would require a change in the law but this is a change that it likely to come as soon as the appropriate safety systems are in place.
It is however, not that easy. If all houses were just one square block with no separate rooms or annoying inconveniences such as doors, cupboards, loft hatches and anything else that needs to be moved my money would be on drones to take over tomorrow. There is very fortunately one piece of equipment that all surveyors have and for which technology does not yet an answer, the human hand. The hand is a truly amazing bit of kit, strong yet able to carry out many very delicate tasks. This is in a large part due to the precise feedback provided by our finger tips. Nothing yet exists to replace this and it is the main reason surveyors, as one of the mobile professions, may be among the last to resist the rise of the robots.
For now the humble human surveyor (with amazing hands!) is the only option so to book a survey please contact us.