In September, I attended the National Retail Tenants Association National Conference. Throughout the event, the concept of “automated lease abstracting” came up in a few of the courses I attended, and it got me thinking –
Can human intelligence ever be fully removed from the abstracting process?
New, cutting-edge technology is being developed which can understand languages, process algorithms, and read, extract, classify and transfer data from one document to another (i.e., from lease to abstract). Several sources emphasize the benefits being that it’s a whole lot cheaper and a whole lot quicker than good, old, paper-to-pencil, manual abstracting.
Other millennials may call me a traitor to my generation, but something about this whole concept has me feeling pretty nervous.
- Interpretation – We all know that lease abstracting involves some level of interpretation and that it is a very subjective task. How can a computer make interpretations in order to paraphrase lengthy lease language?
- Technical Difficulties – need I say more? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experienced an irrevocable software program glitch. Can any of us really afford to run into a computer glitch when we have the completion of 150 new lease abstracts riding on that one computer?
I think that we still need a human touch to ensure that the lease abstract interpretations are correct, that the decisions made about vague lease language are brought to our attention, and to flag critical exceptions. It’s a people-assisted support service, after all.