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When Will ChatGPT Open Its Own Title Agency?


By Hoyt Mann

It's been one of the hottest topics of 2023 so far. Its potential is staggering. Every day seems to bring to light another, previously undiscovered nuance to its capabilities. Its emergence is likely one of the rare occurrences where “game changing” isn’t just advertising language. Of course, we’re talking about ChatGPT and its cousins, such as Google Bard. Their arrival represents a new level for a technology we’ve been speculating about and anticipating since the 1984 movie The Terminator.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), that is.

While it’s highly likely AI will not be seeking world domination or even terminating existing jobs for the foreseeable future (more on that later), it has actually been helping the title industry for a few years now. And it is, indeed, changing the game for an industry that has long relied on manual processes to address simple tasks.

Just for fun, I asked ChatGPT itself what it is and how it believes it will impact the title industry. If you do the same, it will tell you (depending upon the way you ask the question) something like this:

“ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that uses machine learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to a wide range of prompts. It can understand the nuances of human language and respond to queries in a natural, conversational tone. As a result, ChatGPT has the potential to revolutionize the way title insurance companies operate.”

ChatGPT also shared that it has the potential to automate many previously manual processes. That would include underwriting, risk assessment and management and, naturally, communications and customer service. In fact, multiple AI-powered technologies have already come online, so to speak, for title agents. That’s been the case for two or three years, in fact.

So have those applications learned enough yet to open their own title agencies? Well, no. And they probably never will. But they are facilitating faster, more effective service; more efficient workflows and, best of all, a workforce emancipated to focus on much more important things than keying data from faxes, emails, texts and voice mails into production systems.

Right now, multiple AI technologies on the market are helping title-related businesses with everything from simple client communications (e.g. “Don’t forget your closing is at 8 a.m. on Thursday.”) to complex, two-way conversations initiated by a marketing message. AI can be used to open new orders much more efficiently than before. They can also extract data from all forms of communication and quickly input it into production systems or other applications. AI technologies can securely seek and collect data needed to help process a transaction. All of this is done without the requirement of a human being picking up the phone, typing an email or transferring data via a computer keyboard, one key at a time. This, in turn, frees that employee to do something even more productive, like, for example, advanced quality control—or picking up that same phone to call a hot prospect.

AI is already helping title and settlement services firms absorb and resolve, to different levels, common client inquiries (“What do I bring to closing? Is a personal check OK?”). This isn’t just relaying pre-populated reminders. Today, AI technology is helping title agents to answer questions and resolve multi-layered inquiries via conversation.

All without an employee having to step in.

However, AI hasn’t even come close to reaching the apex of its potential yet. For example, while we can train AI applications and even program them to learn on their own, they’re still not quite able to answer questions requiring complex inference or a nuanced understanding of language. You’ve probably experienced this with some of the more complicated inquiries you may have posed to AI prototypes, Alexa or Siri.

Another thing that AI cannot yet do is be innovative or create. This is a major reason why the myth that “AI is coming for our jobs” remains a falsehood. If anything, AI applications empower owners and employers to redeploy all of the employees (and labor hours) wasted staring and comparing or rekeying simple data. This has long been an issue for our industry for any number of reasons, and AI’s arrival should only continue to open up human resources for more complex and innovative purposes.

Finally, like any other technology before it—and likely after it as well—AI will only perform as well as the quality (or potential biases) programmed into it. The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” is particularly relevant here. Any inherent biases programmed into AI technology will eventually lead to some level of incorrect or biased result. AI is a complex tapestry of myriad algorithms, not a robotic brain of some sort. It is only as “smart” as the data it is provided, and the way it is programmed. At least, for now, your AI application will not be able to think outside of the proverbial box.

But it will take the boring, repetitive tasks off of your employees’ desks and give them more time to do just that. All indications are that we are moving towards a world where AI-supports humans in what they do at work, rather than replacing (or terminating) them. If anything, it will take a service-based industry that spends an inordinate amount of time with its head down doing data entry or email and enable it to provide even greater levels of service or ideate creative new business ideas.

Hoyt Mann is co-founder and president of alanna.ai, a conversational AI assistant which elevates the operational efficiencies of title agents while upgrading their customer service. He is a tech evangelist and title industry veteran who has served the industry for over 20 years, including key roles with RamQuest Software and PhaseWare, before helping to found alanna.ai. He can be reached at [email protected]


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