81 research outputs found

    Towards a Taxonomy of Platforms for Conversational Agent Design

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    Software that interacts with its users through natural language, so-called conversational agents (CAs), is permeating our lives with improving capabilities driven by advances in machine learning and natural language processing. For organizations, CAs have the potential to innovate and automate a variety of tasks and processes, for example in customer service or marketing and sales, yet successful design remains a major challenge. Over the last few years, a variety of platforms that offer different approaches and functionality for designing CAs have emerged. In this paper, we analyze 51 CA platforms to develop a taxonomy and empirically identify archetypes of platforms by means of a cluster analysis. Based on our analysis, we propose an extended taxonomy with eleven dimensions and three archetypes that contribute to existing work on CA design and can guide practitioners in the design of CA for their organizations

    On Conversational Agents in Information Systems Research: Analyzing the Past to Guide Future Work

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    Conversational agents (CA), i.e. software that interacts with its users through natural language, are becoming increasingly prevalent in everyday life as technological advances continue to significantly drive their capabilities. CA exhibit the potential to support and collaborate with humans in a multitude of tasks and can be used for innovation and automation across a variety of business functions, such as customer service or marketing and sales. Parallel to the increasing popularity in practice, IS researchers have engaged in studying a variety of aspects related to CA in the last few years, applying different research methods and producing different types of theories. In this paper, we review 36studies to assess the status quo of CA research in IS, identify gaps regarding both the studied aspects as well as applied methods and theoretical approaches, and propose directions for future work in this research area

    Tweet Talking - Exploring The Nature Of Microblogging at Capgemini Yammer

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    Microblogging has gained widespread popularity with the emergence of Twitter. While Twitter has shaped public perceptions of Microblogging, organisations have begun experimenting with Microblogging ‘behind the firewall’, for facilitating communication and group processes. However, research is still in its infancy. In this paper we explore how Yammer has been adopted within Capgemini, a large, globally operating consultancy business. In contrast to existing findings on Twitter usage, we find that Enterprise Microblogging (EMB) in our case is a predominantly conversational medium, where people interact and discuss, rather than only inform others about themselves (Twitter) or about their immediate task/team context, as has also been described in other EMB cases. We discuss our results in light of the particular organisational context of Capgemini and the general open nature of communication technologies. We conclude that appropriation of Enterprise Microblogging happens largely in accordance with the organisational context in which it is set. Microblogging is a diverse phenomenon, which is not sufficiently defined via the underlying technology characteristics

    Short Message Discussions: On The Conversational Nature Of Microblogging In A Large Consultancy Organisation

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    With the rise of Twitter Microblogging as a phenomenon has gained widespread popularity. As with other social software (e.g. Wikis), organisations have begun experimenting with the application of Microblogging for facilitating internal communication and group processes. However, research on the topic is still in its infancy. In this paper we explore how Yammer, a Twitter-like platform, has been adopted within Capgemini, a large, globally operating consultancy business. In contrast to existing findings on Twitter usage and other Enterprise Microblogging (EMB) cases, we find that EMB in our case is a predominantly conversational medium, where people interact with each other explicitly. Rather than using the platform to inform others about themselves (Twitter) or, about their immediate task/team context as has been described in other EMB cases, the Yammer users in this case are expressing views, discussing opinion and responding to each other. We discuss these results in light of the particular organisational context of the case and the emergent nature of communication technologies. We further demonstrate how the interactive and conversational nature of short message communications has led us to investigate the classification of Microblogging according to the context of its use. We conclude that the appropriation of Enterprise Microblogging is shaped largely by the characteristics of the organisational context in which it is used and propose a model that supports this

    Designing Anthropomorphic Enterprise Conversational Agents

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    The increasing capabilities of conversationalagents (CAs) offer manifold opportunities to assist users ina variety of tasks. In an organizational context, particularlytheir potential to simulate a human-like interaction vianatural language currently attracts attention both at thecustomer interface as well as for internal purposes, often inthe form of chatbots. Emerging experimental studies onCAs look into the impact of anthropomorphic design ele-ments, so-called social cues, on user perception. However,while these studies provide valuable prescriptive knowl-edge of selected social cues, they neglect the potentialdetrimental influence of the limited responsiveness ofpresent-day conversational agents. In practice, many CAsfail to continuously provide meaningful responses in aconversation due to the open nature of natural languageinteraction, which negatively influences user perceptionand often led to CAs being discontinued in the past. Thus,designing a CA that provides a human-like interactionexperience while minimizing the risks associated withlimited conversational capabilities represents a substantialdesign problem. This study addresses the aforementionedproblem by proposing and evaluating a design for a CAthat offers a human-like interaction experience while mit-igating negative effects due to limited responsiveness.Through the presentation of the artifact and the synthesis ofprescriptive knowledge in the form of a nascent designtheory for anthropomorphic enterprise CAs, this researchadds to the growing knowledge base for designing human-like assistants and supports practitioners seeking to intro-duce them into their organizations

    DESIGN FOR FAST REQUEST FULFILLMENT OR NATURAL INTERACTION? INSIGHTS FROM AN EXPERIMENT WITH A CONVERSATIONAL AGENT

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    Conversational agents continue to permeate our lives in different forms, such as virtual assistants on mobile devices or chatbots on websites and social media. The interaction with users through natural language offers various aspects for researchers to study as well as application domains for practitioners to explore. In particular their design represents an interesting phenomenon to investigate as humans show social responses to these agents and successful design remains a challenge in practice. Compared to digital human-to-human communication, text-based conversational agents can provide complementary, preset answer options with which users can conveniently and quickly respond in the interaction. However, their use might also decrease the perceived humanness and social presence of the agent as the user does not respond naturally by thinking of and formulating a reply. In this study, we conducted an experiment with N=80 participants in a customer service context to explore the impact of such elements on agent anthropomorphism and user satisfaction. The results show that their use reduces perceived humanness and social presence yet does not significantly increase service satisfaction. On the contrary, our findings indicate that preset answer options might even be detrimental to service satisfaction as they diminish the natural feel of human-CA interaction

    Promoting Sustainable Mobility Beliefs with Persuasive and Anthropomorphic Design: Insights from an Experiment with a Conversational Agent

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    Sustainable mobility behavior is increasingly relevant due to the vast environmental impact of current transportation systems. With the growing variety of transportation modes, individual decisions for or against specific mobility options become more and more important and salient beliefs regarding the environmental impact of different modes influence this decision process. While information systems have been recognized for their potential to shape individual beliefs and behavior, design-oriented studies that explore their impact, in particular on environmental beliefs, remain scarce. In this study, we contribute to closing this research gap by designing and evaluating a new type of artifact, a persuasive and human-like conversational agent, in a 2x2 experiment with 225 participants. Drawing on the Theory of Planned Behavior and Social Response Theory, we find empirical support for the influence of persuasive design elements on individual environmental beliefs and discover that anthropomorphic design can contribute to increasing the persuasiveness of artifacts

    Understanding the Impact that Response Failure has on How Users Perceive Anthropomorphic Conversational Service Agents: Insights from an Online Experiment

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    Conversational agents (CAs) have attracted the interest from organizations due to their potential to provide automated services and the feeling of humanlike interaction. Emerging studies on CAs have found that humanness has a positive impact on customer perception and explored approaches for their anthropomorphic design, which comprises both their appearance and behavior. While these studies provide valuable knowledge on how to design humanlike CAs, we still do not sufficiently understand this technology’s limited conversational capabilities and their potentially detrimental impact on user perception. These limitations often lead to frustrated users and discontinued CAs in practice. We address this gap by investigating the impact of response failure, which we understand a CA’s inability to provide a meaningful reply, in a service context. To do so, we draw on the computers are social actors paradigm and the theory of the uncanny valley. Via an experiment with 169 participants, we found that 1) response failure harmed the extent to which people perceived CAs as human and increased their feelings of uncanniness, 2) humanness (uncanniness) positively (negatively) influenced familiarity and service satisfaction, and 3) the response failure had a significant negative impact on user perception yet did not lead to a sharp drop as the uncanny valley theory posits. Thus, our study contributes to better explaining the impact that text-based CAs’ failure to respond has on customer perception and satisfaction in a service context in relation to the agents’ design

    You are an Idiot! – How Conversational Agent Communication Patterns Influence Frustration and Harassment

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    Conversational Agents (CA) in the form of digital assistants on smartphones, chatbots on social media, or physical embodied systems are an increasingly often applied new form of user interfaces for digital systems. The human-like design of CAs (e.g., having names, greeting users, and using self-references) leads to users subconsciously reacting to them as they were interacting with a human. In recent research, it has been shown that this social component of interacting with a CA leads to various benefits, such as increased service satisfaction, enjoyment, and trust. However, numerous CAs were discontinued because of inadequate responses to user requests or only making errors because of the limited functionalities and knowledge of a CA, which can lead to frustration. Therefore, investigating the causes of frustration and other related emotions and reactions highly relevant. Against this background, this study investigates via an online experiment with 169 participants how different communication patterns influence user’s perception, frustration, and harassment behavior of an error producing CA
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