There is a lot of talk about the wave of technology changing appraisal.  What can you do?  How can you be ahead of the wave?  Is there hope?

A wave of new technology means new tools:  statistics, deep learning, big data, computation, data science, and brain-machine interface.  But they need people.  People qualified to use them.

Ask yourself:   Can I learn to ride the wave?

To ride the wave, it’s important to understand the nature of the wave.  How is it shaped?  How fast is it coming?  What might drag me under?

And most importantly – How can I stay on top?  (Where it’s a lot more fun!)

What’s in the wave?

The technology wave has two primary parts.

  • First, it’s data. Quick, complete, even overwhelming data.
  • Second, it’s computer power. New software, algorithms, packages, and user interface.

The data creates a problem, as well as an opportunity.  The computer power solves the problem, and enables the opportunity.  I believe there’s opportunity for the individual appraiser, our professional organizations, as well as a service to clients, regulators, and the public good

What’s enabled is a better, faster, and more useful product and service.

The data is of two types.  Organic data, collected just because.  Often it has no obvious use until someone finds a need.  The second type is inorganic data, collected for a particular use.  Appraisers and asset analysts use both.  Some of the data is collected because appraisers need it.  Most, however, is collected for a different purpose.  Mostly for brokerage and marketing and macro-economics.

Computation is fast process speeds, unlimited storage, and algorithmic conversion of raw data to information for human understanding.  This also means software created for analysts, not accountants.

What’s in the way?

Thinking, culture, bureaucracy, stubbornness, even laziness — all lead to comfort in old ways.  For some, nearing retirement or doing well in their traditional valuation service, the resistance is legitimate.  They may see little need to invest personal human capital (education and skills) – without a quick return.

What’s the benefit?

The return can be financial.  Or it can be non-monetary ‘psychic’ income, in the form of personal satisfaction, self-esteem, and professionalism. And best of all, learning data science, learning to use a real analytics package, learning the freedom of thinking in line with the better result – offers that personal satisfaction, sense of service, financial reward.  And … best of all …

It makes appraisal fun again!