Robots Can’t Relate

Incorporating ChatGPT into mortgages has some originators concerned if artificial intelligence is a friend or a foe

Sarah Wolak
Sarah Wolak
Robots Don't Understand

Davidoff says that right now is a golden era in artificial intelligence technology. “It’s pretty limitless as to what we can do with Open AI,” she said. “When you think about technology and where we are, I think that it’s going to happen in a much quicker way and in a direction where things will be streamlined better and quicker that these manual tasks will go away. It all comes down to speed and efficiency.”

But others aren’t convinced, and even tech’s biggest moguls are finally agreeing that AI needs to slow down. At the tail end of March, over 1,000 tech bigwigs including Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak signed an open letter calling for a six-month pause on training AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 — also known as ChatGPT. Perhaps it’s pride or insecurity that’s prompting tech talking heads to take caution, but nevertheless, ChatGPT is a sense of contention in not only the tech world.


Steve Richman, a mortgage consultant, is a naysayer of the new wave of artificial intelligence infiltrating the industry, especially as ChatGPT has been tested to suggest loan products and attempt to write mortgages. “I still believe in face-to-face mortgages,” he said “I’m a big believer that you need to talk to people. And someone who is taking out a half-a-million-dollar loan isn’t looking to essentially push button and get a loan.”

Richman says that he’s seen demonstrations where borrowers can plug their parameters into ChatGPT and the bot will come out with loan products suitable for that consumer. “So that’s where people are concerned about getting jobs. And it probably won’t get rid of all jobs, but it will take away some,” he said. “It’s not there yet. We had automated underwriting and people thought it would get rid of underwriters, and though we didn’t lose all, we lost some [jobs].”

David Lykken, Transformational Mortgage Solutions

For Richman, his main concern is determining intellectual property. “When I write a blog post, I specifically write at the bottom that it was written by Steve Richman, not ChatGPT,” he said. “I also encourage LOs to constantly say that they don’t use ChatGPT to post or write [their] stuff. ChatGPT is great at helping people with the easy, generic stuff. But when it comes down to technicalities, it’s hard to trust it.”

It’s not to say that Richman is telling LOs to avoid the platform altogether — he just advises them to not risk being replaced by the intelligence application. “It’s great for marketing,” he said. “It’s amazing to ask it prompts such as the top 10 questions first-time homebuyers have. But make that prompt your own, provide your own answers instead of relying on ChatGPT.”

Richman also says ChatGPT’s red flag is that it puts people into boxes rather than distinctly remembering individual users. “For example, if you ask the bot to write a poem about your name, it’s going to give everyone with that same name the same response,” he explained. “It’s lacking personalization, which is why it’s on the individual LO to maybe revamp ChatGPT’s responses and gear them towards customers’ needs.”

Richman’s other worry is that the platform is untrustworthy. “When I plugged in a prompt as to how to attract first-time homebuyers, one of ChatGPT’s suggestions was to produce a blog featuring neighborhood statistics such as crime rates, schools, and income levels,” he said. “Well, those three things are illegal for a real estate agent to talk about. So be sure if you’re an LO who uses ChatGPT, don’t just hand over its responses to the public without fact-checking and putting your own spin on it. Not only do the responses sound not like you at all, but they could get you in trouble.”


Richman’s concerns are formed by the news and popular media that he’s seen about AI. For instance, Richman said that his viewing of the recent film “M3GAN,” which depicts an artificially intelligent doll who develops self-awareness and becomes hostile, made him even more wary about society’s adoption of artificial intelligence. But for others, it’s simply a new way of life.

Lykken is one of the more positive industry vets when it comes to embracing ChatGPT’s innovation. “It will be a mistake if people do not embrace it and learn how to use it,” he affirmed. “It’s a decided advantage when working with Realtors, builders, and other industry folks. The amount of data ChatGPT provides can be a catalyst for other ideas.”

Lykken also says that in order for LOs to get the most value out of ChatGPT, they need to learn to ask the application the right questions to elicit the most fruitful responses.

“Learning to ask the right questions from ChatGPT is crucial. The data set that you can get back needs to be validated and verified and current,” he said. “Avoid using data from earlier years if you know that data has changed. I, for one, am using it constantly. The amount of data i can bring to clients is extraordinary.”

Although Lykken describes himself as pro-innovation, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence, he also acknowledges that LOs shouldn’t be worried about being replaced in the near future. “The relational component between borrowers and LOs is something ChatGPT can’t take away, especially when it comes to a conversation and reading someone’s emotions,” Lykken said. “Robots can’t relate. [ChatGPT] can help you lay out the exact need of your consumer and help you reveal blind spots in an application … but it can’t replace communication.”

Sarah Wolak
Sarah Wolak,
Staff Writer
This article was originally published in the NMP Magazine October 2023 issue.
Published on
Sep 27, 2023
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