Date of Degree

9-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Business

Advisor

Marios Koufaris

Committee Members

Raquel Benbunan-Fich

Daniele Artistico

Karl Lang

Subject Categories

Management Information Systems

Keywords

Personal Intelligent Agents, Perceived Intelligence, Perceived Anthropomorphism, Perceived Self Extension, Emotional and Cognitive Trust, Humor

Abstract

Personal intelligent agents (PIA), such as Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Facebook’s M, and Microsoft’s Cortana, are pervading our lives. These systems are taking the shape of a companion, and acting on our behalf to help us manage our everyday activities. The proliferation of these PIAs is largely due to their wide availability on mobile devices which themselves have become commonly available for billions of people. Our continuous interaction with these PIAs is impacting our sense of self, sense of being human, perception of technology, and relationships with others. The Information Systems (IS) literature on PIAs has been scarce. In this dissertation, we investigate the users’ relationship with PIAs in pre- and post-adoption contexts. We create and develop scales for two new constructs, perceived intelligence and perceived anthropomorphism, which are essential to investigate the holistic users’ experience with PIAs and similar systems. We also investigate perceptions of self-extension and possible antecedents of self-extension for the first time in IS. Additionally, we explore design issues with PIAs and examine voice and humor, which are independently present in currently available PIAs. Humor is a pervasive social phenomenon that shapes the dynamics of human interactions and is investigated for the first time in an IS experiment. We find that the current adoption and continuance of use models may not be sufficient to investigate the adoption and continuance of use of PIAs and similar systems since they do not capture the whole interaction between the user and the PIA. Our results underline the important role of the new perceptions, the utilitarian and hedonic aspects of use, and the cognitive and emotional trust in these social actors. Our findings highlight an astonishing change in the users’ perception of technology from being a tool distant from the self to a tool that they develop emotional connections with and consider part of their self-identity. This dissertation’s findings provide interesting theoretical and practical implications and stress a changing relationship between the user and the technology with this new wave of systems. Our research answers important questions in the context of PIAs’ adoption and continued used, contributes to various streams in the IS literature (adoption, continuance of use, trust, intelligence, anthropomorphism, dual-purpose IS, and self-extension) and creates new opportunities for future research.

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