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Collaborating with technology-based autonomous agents : Issues and research opportunities

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This article reports the results from a panel discussion held at the 2019 European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) on the use of technology-based autonomous agents in collaborative work.


The panelists (Drs Izak Benbasat, Paul Benjamin Lowry, Stefan Morana, and Stefan Seidel) presented ideas related to affective and cognitive implications of using autonomous technology-based agents in terms of (1) emotional connection with these agents, (2) decision-making, and (3) knowledge and learning in settings with autonomous agents. These ideas provided the basis for a moderated panel discussion (the moderators were Drs Isabella Seeber and Lena Waizenegger), during which the initial position statements were elaborated on and additional issues were raised.


Through the discussion, a set of additional issues were identified. These issues related to (1) the design of autonomous technology-based agents in terms of human–machine workplace configurations, as well as transparency and explainability, and (2) the unintended consequences of using autonomous technology-based agents in terms of de-evolution of social interaction, prioritization of machine teammates, psychological health, and biased algorithms.


Key issues related to the affective and cognitive implications of using autonomous technology-based agents, design issues, and unintended consequences highlight key contemporary research challenges that allow researchers in this area to leverage compelling questions that can guide further research in this field.
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Keywords: Autonomous technology-based agents; Biases; Collaboration; Decision-making; Emotions; Knowledge and learning; Unintended consequences

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Information Systems, Production and Logistics Management, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria 2: Department of Business Information Systems, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand 3: Institute of Information Systems, University of Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein 4: Institute of Information Systems and Marketing, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany 5: Sauder School of Business, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 6: Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Publication date: February 23, 2020

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