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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2019

Arne De Keyser, Sarah Köcher, Linda Alkire (née Nasr), Cédric Verbeeck and Jay Kandampully

Smart technologies and connected objects are rapidly changing the organizational frontline. Yet, our understanding of how these technologies infuse service encounters…

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6439

Abstract

Purpose

Smart technologies and connected objects are rapidly changing the organizational frontline. Yet, our understanding of how these technologies infuse service encounters remains limited. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to update existing classifications of Frontline Service Technology (FST) infusion. Moreover, the authors discuss three promising smart and connected technologies – conversational agents, extended reality (XR) and blockchain technology – and their respective implications for customers, frontline employees and service organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a conceptual approach integrating existing work on FST infusion with artificial intelligence, robotics, XR and blockchain literature, while also building on insights gathered through expert interviews and focus group conversations with members of two service research centers.

Findings

The authors define FST and propose a set of FST infusion archetypes at the organizational frontline. Additionally, the authors develop future research directions focused on understanding how conversational agents, XR and blockchain technology will impact service.

Originality/value

This paper updates and extends existing classifications of FST, while paving the road for further work on FST infusion.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2021

Sut Ieng Lei, Haili Shen and Shun Ye

Chatbot users’ communication experience with disembodied conversational agents was compared with instant messaging (IM) users’ communication experience with human…

Abstract

Purpose

Chatbot users’ communication experience with disembodied conversational agents was compared with instant messaging (IM) users’ communication experience with human conversational agents. The purpose of this paper is to identify what affects users’ intention to reuse and whether they perceive any difference between the two.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model was developed based on computer-mediated communication (CMC) and interpersonal communication theories. Data were collected online from four different continents (North America, Europe, Asia and Australia). Partial least squares structural equation modeling was applied to examine the research model.

Findings

The findings mainly reveal that media richness and social presence positively influence trust and reuse intention through task attraction and social attraction; IM users reported significantly higher scores in terms of communication experience, perceived attractiveness of the conversational agent, and trust than chatbot users; users’ trust in the conversational agents is mainly determined by perceived task attraction.

Research limitations/implications

Customers’ evaluation of the communication environment is positively related to their perceived competence of the conversational agent which ultimately affect their intention to reuse chatbot/IM. The findings reveal determinants of chatbot/IM adoption which have rarely been mentioned by previous work.

Practical implications

Practitioners should note that consumers in general still prefer to interact with human conversational agents. Practitioners should contemplate how to combine chatbot and human resources effectively to deliver the best customer service.

Originality/value

This study goes beyond the Computer as Social Actor paradigm and Technology Acceptance Model to understand chatbot and IM adoption. It is among one of the first studies that compare chatbot and IM use experience in the tourism and hospitality literature.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 33 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 21 January 2021

Jengchung Victor Chen, Huyen Thi Le and Sinh Thi Thu Tran

To provide better services to customers, especially immediate responses and 24/7 availability, businesses are implementing text-based automated conversational agents, i.e…

Abstract

Purpose

To provide better services to customers, especially immediate responses and 24/7 availability, businesses are implementing text-based automated conversational agents, i.e. chatbots on their social platforms and websites. Chatbots are required to not only provide customers with necessary consultancy and guidance but also communicate friendly and socially. Based on the cognitive fit theory, this study attempts to examine the role of chatbot as a decision aid and how the match between information presentation in forms of decisional guidance and communication style and the shopping task influences consumers' perceived cognitive fit and decision performance outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

A 2 x 2 x 2 between subject online experiment was conducted to identify which kind of decisional guidance (suggestive and informative guidance) and communication style (task-oriented vs social-oriented style) are the most appropriate for each type of shopping task (searching vs browsing task).

Findings

The findings show that when customers interact with chatbots, they will perceive higher cognitive fit if the chatbots provide them with suggestive guidance and communicate in a friendly style especially when they perform a searching task.

Originality/value

This study is the first attempt to understand the role of chatbots as a decision aid to customers using the communicative language. This study also tries to explore the cognitive fit theory in a novel way, and we propose the information presentation in forms of communicative language rather than matrices, tables and graphs.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2020

Isabella Seeber, Lena Waizenegger, Stefan Seidel, Stefan Morana, Izak Benbasat and Paul Benjamin Lowry

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

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1226

Abstract

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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Book part
Publication date: 2 May 2006

Wendell H. Chun, Thomas Spura, Frank C. Alvidrez and Randy J. Stiles

Lockheed Martin has been a premier builder and developer of manned aircraft and fighter jets since 1909. Since then, aircraft design has drastically evolved in many areas…

Abstract

Lockheed Martin has been a premier builder and developer of manned aircraft and fighter jets since 1909. Since then, aircraft design has drastically evolved in many areas including the evolution of manual linkages to fly-by-wire systems, and mechanical gauges to glass cockpits. Lockheed Martin's knowledge of manned aircraft has produced a variety of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) based on size/wingspan, ranging from a micro-UAV (MicroStar) to a hand-launched UAV (Desert Hawk) and up to larger platforms such as the DarkStar. Their control systems vary anywhere between remotely piloted to fully autonomous systems. Remotely piloted control is equivalent to full human involvement with an operator controlling all the decisions of the aircraft. Similarly, fully autonomous operations describe a situation that has the human having minimal contact with the platform. Flight path control relies on a set of waypoints for the vehicle to fly through. This is the most common mode of UAV navigation, and GPS has made this form of navigation practical.

Details

Human Factors of Remotely Operated Vehicles
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-247-4

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 18 June 2020

Michelle M.E. Van Pinxteren, Mark Pluymaekers and Jos G.A.M. Lemmink

Conversational agents (chatbots, avatars and robots) are increasingly substituting human employees in service encounters. Their presence offers many potential benefits…

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5484

Abstract

Purpose

Conversational agents (chatbots, avatars and robots) are increasingly substituting human employees in service encounters. Their presence offers many potential benefits, but customers are reluctant to engage with them. A possible explanation is that conversational agents do not make optimal use of communicative behaviors that enhance relational outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to identify which human-like communicative behaviors used by conversational agents have positive effects on relational outcomes and which additional behaviors could be investigated in future research.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a systematic review of 61 articles that investigated the effects of communicative behaviors used by conversational agents on relational outcomes. A taxonomy is created of all behaviors investigated in these studies, and a research agenda is constructed on the basis of an analysis of their effects and a comparison with the literature on human-to-human service encounters.

Findings

The communicative behaviors can be classified along two dimensions: modality (verbal, nonverbal, appearance) and footing (similarity, responsiveness). Regarding the research agenda, it is noteworthy that some categories of behaviors show mixed results and some behaviors that are effective in human-to-human interactions have not yet been investigated in conversational agents.

Practical implications

By identifying potentially effective communicative behaviors in conversational agents, this study assists managers in optimizing encounters between conversational agents and customers.

Originality/value

This is the first study that develops a taxonomy of communicative behaviors in conversational agents and uses it to identify avenues for future research.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 23 November 2010

Victoria L. Rubin, Yimin Chen and Lynne Marie Thorimbert

Conversational agents are natural language interaction interfaces designed to simulate conversation with a real person. This paper seeks to investigate current development…

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3095

Abstract

Purpose

Conversational agents are natural language interaction interfaces designed to simulate conversation with a real person. This paper seeks to investigate current development and applications of these systems worldwide, while focusing on their availability in Canadian libraries. It aims to argue that it is both timely and conceivable for Canadian libraries to consider adopting conversational agents to enhance – not replace – face‐to‐face human interaction. Potential users include library web site tour guides, automated virtual reference and readers' advisory librarians, and virtual story‐tellers. To provide background and justification for this argument, the paper seeks to review agents from classic implementations to state‐of‐the‐art prototypes: how they interact with users, produce language, and control conversational behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

The web sites of the 20 largest Canadian libraries were surveyed to assess the extent to which specific language‐related technologies are offered in Canada, including conversational agents. An exemplified taxonomy of four pragmatic purposes that conversational agents currently serve outside libraries – educational, informational, assistive, and socially interactive – is proposed and translated into library settings.

Findings

As of early 2010, artificially intelligent conversational systems have been found to be virtually non‐existent in Canadian libraries, while other innovative technologies proliferate (e.g. social media tools). These findings motivate the need for a broader awareness and discussion within the LIS community of these systems' applicability and potential for library purposes.

Originality/value

This paper is intended for reflective information professionals who seek a greater understanding of the issues related to adopting conversational agents in libraries, as this topic is scarcely covered in the LIS literature. The pros and cons are discussed, and insights offered into perceptions of intelligence (artificial or not) as well as the fundamentally social nature of human‐computer interaction.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2021

Blanca Hernández-Ortega, Joaquin Aldas-Manzano and Ivani Ferreira

This study aims to examine users’ affective relationships with smart voice assistants (SVAs) and aims to analyze how these relationships explain user engagement behaviors…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine users’ affective relationships with smart voice assistants (SVAs) and aims to analyze how these relationships explain user engagement behaviors toward the brands of SVAs. Drawing on relational cohesion theory, it proposes that cohesion between users and SVAs influences brand engagement behaviors, that is, continuing purchasing other products of the brand, providing knowledge to the brand and referring the brand.

Design/methodology/approach

Data from a survey of 717 US regular SVA users confirm the validity of the measurement scales and provide the input for the covariance-based structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results demonstrate that frequent user-SVA interactions evoke positive emotions, which encourage cohesive relationships. Pleasured-satisfaction and interest emerge as strong emotions. Moreover, relational cohesion between users and SVAs promotes engagement with the brand of the assistant.

Originality/value

This paper applies an interpersonal approach in a context that, to date, has been examined from a predominantly technological perspective. It shows that users develop positive emotions toward smart technologies through their interactions, and establishes the importance of building affective relationships. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to analyze cohesion between users and smart technologies and to examine the effect of this cohesion on user engagement with the brand.

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Book part
Publication date: 20 September 2018

Arthur C. Graesser, Nia Dowell, Andrew J. Hampton, Anne M. Lippert, Haiying Li and David Williamson Shaffer

This chapter describes how conversational computer agents have been used in collaborative problem-solving environments. These agent-based systems are designed to (a…

Abstract

This chapter describes how conversational computer agents have been used in collaborative problem-solving environments. These agent-based systems are designed to (a) assess the students’ knowledge, skills, actions, and various other psychological states on the basis of the students’ actions and the conversational interactions, (b) generate discourse moves that are sensitive to the psychological states and the problem states, and (c) advance a solution to the problem. We describe how this was accomplished in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) in 2015. In the PISA CPS 2015 assessment, a single human test taker (15-year-old student) interacts with one, two, or three agents that stage a series of assessment episodes. This chapter proposes that this PISA framework could be extended to accommodate more open-ended natural language interaction for those languages that have developed technologies for automated computational linguistics and discourse. Two examples support this suggestion, with associated relevant empirical support. First, there is AutoTutor, an agent that collaboratively helps the student answer difficult questions and solve problems. Second, there is CPS in the context of a multi-party simulation called Land Science in which the system tracks progress and knowledge states of small groups of 3–4 students. Human mentors or computer agents prompt them to perform actions and exchange open-ended chat in a collaborative learning and problem-solving environment.

Details

Building Intelligent Tutoring Systems for Teams
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-474-1

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2002

Toyoaki Nishida

Dynamic knowledge interaction is interaction that brings about mutual understanding and knowledge evolution in a community. Proposes a communication medium called…

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1616

Abstract

Dynamic knowledge interaction is interaction that brings about mutual understanding and knowledge evolution in a community. Proposes a communication medium called conversational medium that provides the user with a means for interacting with the content in a conversational fashion, and presents a traveling conversation model in which the community knowledge process is modeled as circulation of conversational contents that represent small talks in a community. Shows several pilot systems based on these ideas, including the public opinion channel which is an interactive broadcasting system that collects small talks and broadcasts stories reorganized from the archive of small talks; EgoChat which is a system based on a talking‐virtualized‐egos metaphor; Voice Café which is a system consisting of a physical object and a conversational agent that allows artifacts to make conversation with people or other artifacts; and embodiment communication for communicating more vivid information by introducing non‐verbal communication facilities.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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