Identity of Intelligent Agents in Business Relationships
Source of funding: National Science Centre, Poland
Funding Scheme: PRELUDIUM
Project ID number: 2019/33/N/HS4/02904
Start date: 05.02.2020
Finish date: 04.02.2022
Amount of funding: 130 760 zł
Every year the amount of artificially intelligent agents’ solutions on the market is rising. These agents can replace human employees in some of the everyday business tasks, leading to clear economic benefits for organizations. We already have plenty of agents that can communicate with people in the natural language and interface. On the business-to-business market they can play a role of a firm’s representative that interacts with the world outside the organization’s boundaries. Intelligent agents can schedule meetings, reserve hotel rooms, book flights or even support customer’s in resolving problems. Despite the clear economic benefits of their introduction, we do not know the possible implications that this may have for business relationships, which usually have human actors as interlocutors. What is even more interesting, in literature on business relationship there is an assumption that actors on the market are people or organizations. Intelligent agents possess capabilities that are usually associated with actors. Hence, it is unclear whether human actors will perceive intelligent agents as actors or resources and what implications this may have on business relationships.
This project aims at conceptualizing and understanding identity attribution and sensemaking of the intelligent agents with their effects on the business relationships. In order to achieve that, three specific aims were created: (1) to conceptualize the possible intelligent agent’s identity (resource versus actor); (2) to recognise how the identity attribution and sensemaking processes move forward in time, from the initial introduction of an AI into the relationship between organizations to the use of it on a daily basis; (3) to determine the effects of sensemaking outcomes on business relationships. The research design consists of case studies and an experiment based on business simulation. Case studies will investigate issues regarding to the above-mentioned problems on the sample of few companies that develop modern intelligent agents’ solutions for the businessto-business market. Experiment aims at understanding the sensemaking about the intelligent agents processes over time and its impact on business relationship. The project is contributing to science in several means. First of all, it will lead to exposing the duality of the intelligent agents’ identity. Second of all, it takes a closer look at the sensemaking processes using dynamic perspective. Third of all, it will help understand the consequences of the intelligent agent introduction to the business relationship.