Mediating the Double-Edged Sword of Technology


Many modern inventions have their upsides and their downsides.

“Better living through chemistry” – an advertising slogan used by DuPont in 1935 – was heralded by scientists and industry leaders who believed that chemistry could improve many aspects of life – which it did.

But the development of chemicals has its dark side. A few of the most tragic were the DDT pesticide contamination of bird eggs, the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 in India and the century-long pollution by industry of Onondaga Lake and the destruction of its surrounding wildlife habitat.

Artificial intelligence, now in its infancy, stands at the same crossroads as chemistry did nearly a century ago. AI will be used for good, but how do we balance its benefits with its potential harm?

In September, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau put in its two cents about the use of AI in the mortgage industry.

“In today’s marketplace, creditors are increasingly using complex algorithms, marketed as artificial intelligence, and other predictive decision-making technologies in their underwriting models,” the CFPB noted in its Sept. 19 bulletin. “Creditors often feed these complex algorithms with large datasets, sometimes including data that may be harvested from consumer surveillance. As a result, a consumer may be denied credit for reasons they may not consider particularly relevant to their finances. Despite the potentially expansive list of reasons for adverse credit actions, some creditors may inappropriately rely on a checklist of reasons provided in CFPB sample forms. However, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act does not allow creditors to simply conduct check-the-box exercises when delivering notices of adverse action if doing so fails to accurately inform consumers why adverse actions were taken.”

Advancements in technology clearly have their advantages, but we can’t lose sight of the human person we are serving.

Focusing on the client

Lenders, real estate agents and title agencies have long served customers one-on-one, face-to-face, and this personal knowledge of the homebuyer and seller they serve has helped each service provider tailor their products and services to the specific needs of that client.

The human connection in a real estate transaction has always been key to helping homebuyers navigate the complexities of buying a home. The type, location and price point of the home is singular to each homebuyer. The type of mortgage product and the length of the mortgage is determined by the borrower’s individual financial situation and needs. The title and escrow services are determined by the complexity of the transaction, the type of property and the way in which a homebuyer wishes to close the transaction.

Communication between you and your client is paramount in these situations. At Alanna we believe we can streamline many of those communication processes, but one of the prime goals of automated communication is to free up our clients to devote more time to those necessary one-on-one conversations that arise often in the course of performing the title search and preparing for the closing.

The point is, technology should always be an enhancement to the process, not a barrier between the title agent and the customer.

Alanna is dedicated to strengthening your processes and your communication with your customers by helping you gather accurate information and keep everyone on track with transaction timeline updates. Most importantly, our technology frees up your time, so you can invest in long-term relationships with your real estate agent, lender, homebuyer and seller customers.  Contact us today to learn more.