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

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Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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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