Automated social presence in AI: Avoiding consumer psychological tensions to improve service value


Consumers are increasingly embracing robots and AI. This has led them to suffer psychological tensions in their AI experiences (e.g., data capture, classification, delegation and social experiences). This exploratory research proposes that AI with higher perceived automated presence (sense of being with another being) alleviates psychological tensions. This in turn leads to consumer perceptions of higher functional and social value and higher future use intention. A study into service robots (n = 331) supported the proposal that consumers’ perceptions of greater automated social presence in service robots makes them feel understood rather than misunderstood, empowered rather than replaced and connected rather than alienated, which increases their functional and social value perceptions and intention to use robots in the future. The impact of automated social presence on social experience is higher for consumers with a higher need for social interaction. This research lends weight to some theoretical proposals made in previous literature that were, at that point, empirically unexplored.

withyou android app