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Friday, January 19 Business

Real estate speaker: Technology won’t wait

While the timeline is uncertain, futuristic technologies are coming and the changes are only getting faster, according to Geoffrey Kasselman, an executive managing director at Newmark Knight Frank, who recently headlined an industry group’s gathering.

Kasselman summarized broad ways the world will be altered by technological advances including in artificial intelligence, computers, drones and even contact lenses that could act as screens for computers, smartphones and TVs all in one.

In his presentation titled,“The Exponential Future of Everything,” Kasselman described several large waves of “transformative disruption” carrying drastic changes, from how we learn to how we travel and find jobs.

“Nothing is immune from the forces at work,” Kasselman told the crowd of real estate industry professionals at the Real Estate Finance Association of Connecticut luncheon in Stamford. “Doing nothing is not an option.”

While he touched on how some technologies will specifically affect the commercial real estate industry, Kasselman emphasized that many business leaders and intellectuals across industries are already realizing many of these changes.

Among some of the more immediate large-scale “disruptions,” Kasselman highlighted are automation, big data and blockchain, which he called the “single most disruptive force” lately.

In the second wave of transformations, potentially arriving within the next five to 15 years, Kasselman included the ability to learn 24/7 with the help of artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, more 3-D printing and widespread, low-cost solar energy. “Our transition away from a petroleum-based economy is well underway,” he said.

Transportation is destined to increasingly rise above buildings into the air, he said, advising property owners to find out the regulations regarding air rights for their buildings as they might be able to make money with them.

Kasselman’s forecasts for the future also include the “theory of singularity,” describing how for the relatively low cost of $1,000 computers will exist that are more than a billion times as intelligent as all humans combined.

“No job is completely safe from computers,” he said, adding it would benefit employees now to begin positioning themselves for the future job market by specializing.

In his parting words, Kasselman left his audience with a warning about one of the United States’ biggest shortcomings moving forward: cyber security. “That’s our weakest link,” he said.

Contact the writer at mbennett@greenwichtime.com; Twitter @Macaela_

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