This webinar took place on Wednesday, Dec 6 2023. Please feel free to watch the recording or read below for the summary and transcript. Questions or feedback? Email us at hq [at] trebellar.com. Thanks for your interest!
About the speakers
Together, our speakers have 40+ years of experience in AI/ML engineering and workplace at companies like Google, LinkedIn, CBRE, WeWork, Netflix, and Stripe. (See the bottom of this post for speakers' bios & background.)
The panel discussed the integration of artificial intelligence in the workplace, emphasizing the necessity of adapting work models, managing hybrid work, and creating optimal work environments. They highlighted the potential of AI to augment human capabilities, provide real-time feedback, and the importance of data governance. The panelists also noted that a company's readiness to experiment with AI depends on its maturity and established systems, and the potential for AI systems to create inferences from fed data.
Adapting Work Models in Hybrid Workplaces
The panel discussion involved several guests with extensive experience in AI, ML engineering, and workplace real estate. Brett, a recovering architect who runs a workplace consultancy, highlighted the need for companies to adapt and evolve their work models. Corinne, founder of Agit Studio, emphasized the importance of understanding how to work together asynchronously and across distributed landscapes. Omar, head of outreach insights and engagement at In Space, shared their insights on managing hybrid work. David, co-founder and CTO at JLR, discussed their work with large amounts of data and the potential for AI to enhance technology. Lauren, who came from the world of workplace real estate, highlighted the importance of creating work environments that facilitate optimal work.
AI in Professional and Personal Life
Lauren initiated a discussion about the role and application of artificial intelligence (AI) in professional and personal life. They invited David, an AI expert, to share their insights, starting with the history of AI and its current state. David explained how the advent of large language models has changed the way AI systems learn, allowing them to make inferences from a general set of information. They emphasized that AI is another tool that can be used according to the task at hand, but its effectiveness relies on the quality of the information fed into it and the expertise of the person deploying it. The conversation concluded with a consideration of striking a balance between leveraging AI technologies and maintaining the importance of human interaction in the workplace.
During the session, we held a poll asking the audience how often they use ChatGPT/Bard or similar technology at home and at work. Here are the results from approximately 40 respondents:
Poll takeaways & insights:
- A majority of audience members use ChatGPT multiple times a month – or more – both at home (76.9%) and at work (67.0%)
- Respondents are 1.5X more likely to use ChatGPT (or similar) multiple times a day in their personal life
- 1/3 of respondents report they use ChatGPT (or similar) in their professional life RARELY or NEVER
- 37.5% of respondents say they use ChatGPT multiple times a week at work, compared to 26.9% of respondents reporting similar frequency at home
AI in Workplace and Commercial Environments
The discussion revolved around the potential of AI in commercial and workplace environments. Brett highlighted the possibility of AI supplementing or supplanting workplace operations, such as troubleshooting technical issues in conference rooms or managing issues with amenities like break rooms. Corinne emphasized the use of AI as a support system to relieve workplace experience coordinators of mundane tasks, enabling them to focus on more creative and strategic tasks. Omar and David also discussed the benefits of AI in augmenting human capabilities, such as data analysis and routine tasks. However, they also noted the importance of ensuring data quality and building user trust in the AI tools.
AI Adoption and Challenges in Established Firms
Corinne emphasized that the readiness of a company to experiment with AI largely depends on its maturity and established systems. They noted that younger, bootstrap companies are more likely to embrace AI, while established firms may be more cautious due to security and technical barriers. Corinne also highlighted the role of organizational culture and leadership outlook in driving AI adoption. David discussed the potential for AI systems to create inferences from fed data, suggesting that these systems should be constrained to specific domains to minimize errors. Brett and Corinne discussed the benefits of AI in providing real-time feedback and insights, while Omar pointed out the challenges of merging traditional facilities management with digital natives in a management system. Lastly, David stressed the importance of data governance in AI, suggesting that companies should be aware of the potential for AI systems to learn over time and deploy systems that keep everything in-house.
AI Integration in Workplace: Employee Experience and Data Analysis
The panelists discussed the integration of AI in the workplace, focusing on the importance of employee experience and the need for data analysis. Brett suggested using tools to understand employee needs and create a personalized workplace experience. Corinne highlighted the need to optimize operational processes before focusing on the employee experience. Omar emphasized the need for internal literacy and the development of technology champions within organizations. The conversation also touched on the fear of digital transformation and the importance of taking small steps towards it. The panelists concluded by sharing resources for learning AI and encouraging others to explore and experiment with new tools.
The audience had a number of questions, including:
How to best avoid AI hallucinations?
Answer: Ensure you bound your queries, train your models on structured data with clear ontological boundaries, and adopt an iterative approach to AI rollouts to ensure that stakeholders' expectations don't get out of line with what's possible during early discovery phases.
Many firms remain reliant on spreadsheets and may lack real-time data sources. How can these firms who are early in their digital transformation journey leverage AI?
Answer (paraphrased): sophistication comes with time, and there still may be opportunities to leverage AI-enabled analysis with large datasets even when they're stored in a static relational database (e.g., a spreadsheet). Examples include accessing regression analysis via LLM/chat, prompting the system to quickly flag and explain statistical anomalies and outliers, and accessing third-party best practices that can help a team understand what steps to take based on the underlying dataset.
Are there any good resources on artificial intelligence related to workplace and real estate?
Answer: yes! There were are number that were shared by the panel and audience members.
- Henry Massey, NavigatorCRE: "James Waddel at Cognitive Corp has incredible resources. He's our go to in the RE industry."
- Antony Slumbers
- Dror Poleg
**We'll be sharing a living library on AI shortly!
Brett Hautop is founding partner of Workshape, Inc., a leading workplace consultancy, and Workplace Forum, a collaborative learning community for real estate and workplace leaders. Prior to his founding roles, Brett served as VP of Workplace at LinkedIn for 7 years.
Corinne Murray is founder of Agate Studio and has held workplace leadership roles at WeWork and American Express. Corinne is an experience and transformation expert with a speciality in workplace + culture strategy, employee experience, and change management. Passionate about creating innovative and practical opportunities for leaders and employees to genuinely collaborate and design their collective "what, where, when, why, how" for the future of work that reduces frictions by relying on a beginners mindset, curiosity, and the willingness to experiment (and experiment again).
Omar Ramirez is Head of Outreach, Insights, and Engagement at Inspace, the #1 employee-centric booking platform embracing the future of work. Omar is also co-founder of Collective, a new community built for collaboration around building the future of work. Omar has over 16 years of experience in workplace design and construction at companies including Google, Netlfix, Stripe, and Atlassian. Omar is passionate about creating innovative and sustainable solutions for the present and future of work. As the co-founder of Collective Inc., Omar leverages his skills in process improvement, team building, and project planning to enable workplace professionals with information, community, and solutions.
David Garcia Quintas is co-founder and CTO of Trebellar, a workplace analytics and insights software company. David began his career at CERN where he worked on the control systems of the world's largest particle accelerator. He then spent 8+ years at Google and Waymo, working on AI/NLP at Google Research, and network programming and protocols as an early member of the gRPC team.
Lauren Schwalb spent the majority of her career at CBRE across a variety of roles including sales and solutions, marketing, operations and most notably was a founding member of Host – CBRE’s experience services product and service offering. During her tenure at Host, Lauren wore a variety of hats including ownership of the data and reporting strategy for clients. As the fourth team member hired, she was instrumental in the scale of the Host service and product offering. Prior to joining Trebellar in a real estate advisory capacity, Lauren led strategic partnerships for Density, a workplace sensor and analytics company, with a focus on partnering with real estate service providers to expand Density’s footprint across Fortune 500 customers.