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AI Ain’t for Everyone: Who Trusts Bots and Why?

Monday, June 17, 2019

By Beth Stackpole

A doctor diagnoses a fever and aching throat as strep throat, and we accept the diagnosis and follow up on their instructions. Same scenario when an insurance or financial advisor makes a policy or investment recommendation — we hear what they have to say and typically execute on their plan.But what happens when that same suggestion comes from an artificial intelligence-driven bot? What factors determine whether a human is wired to accept advice from machines? Are there certain types of people that are more predisposed than others to trust AI?

Such questions are becoming more consequential as organizations begin to deploy an army of bots to enhance customer interactions. In order to be successful, companies must figure out what exchanges can benefit from AI and which still require human-to-human interaction, said MIT Sloan professor Renée Gosline, a researcher with the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.

Gosline recently presented new findings that shed light on who is more likely to embrace AI-enhanced decision-making and offer guideposts for companies trying to effectively integrate robo-advisors and AI capabilities into their user experiences.

“The development of bots and algorithms to aid behavior is outpacing our understanding of who and when they help most,” said Gosline, whose research is co-authored by PdD student Heather Yang. “We need to think about the increasing outsourcing of decisions — who does it, when, and what the implications are when we do it.”

Continue reading the full Sloan Management Review article here, and watch the video of Gosline's presentation at the recent MIT IDE Annual Conference.