Speaker: Stefano Puntoni, Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Rapid advances in robotics and artificial intelligence are transforming the economy, enabling the development of many new products and services and triggering a new wave of automation in production processes. I will review a research program investigating our relationship with technology in the dawning age of smart machines. I will adopt both demand- and supply-side perspectives. In terms of consumption, continuing increases in computing power have enabled complex algorithms to assist in a growing number of consumer-based tasks that only a few years ago seemed the realm of science fiction, from autonomous vehicles to personalized recommendations, from language translators to smart home devices. I will review experimental and correlational studies investigating consumer acceptance of automated products and product features. In terms of production, I will review studies investigating the psychological correlates of technological unemployment. Technology increasingly enables firms to replace employees with intelligent machines and algorithms. Forecasts predict that, in the coming years, these new technologies will have a major impact on society and will affect millions of workers in a wide range of occupations. Despite the intense debate around these issues taking place within economics, sociology, and other social sciences, research has not examined how people—both employees and consumers—react to technological replacement of human labor.