Denis Mayr Lima Martins

Watch Me Get Better! – Algorithm Aversion and Demonstrating the Ability to Learn

Tuesday, 26. October 2021 - 12:00 to 13:00, Zoom

Talk title: Watch Me Get Better! – Algorithm Aversion and Demonstrating the Ability to Learn.

Speaker affiliation: Prof. Dr. Benedikt Berger, Department of Information Systems, the University of Münster, Germany.
Talk abstract: Owing to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically in machine learning, information technology (IT) systems can support humans in an increasing number of tasks. Yet, previous research indicates that people often prefer support by a human to support by an IT system, even if the latter provides superior performance—a phenomenon called algorithm aversion. A possible cause of algorithm aversion put forward in literature is that users lose trust in IT systems they become familiar with and perceive to err (e.g., to make forecasts that turn out to deviate from the actual value). Therefore, this study evaluates the effectiveness of demonstrating the ability to learn of an AI-based system as a potential countermeasure against algorithm aversion in an incentive-compatible online experiment. The experiment reveals how the nature of an erring advisor (i.e., human vs. algorithmic), its familiarity to the user (i.e., unfamiliar vs. familiar), and its ability to learn (i.e., non-learning vs. learning) influence a decision maker’s reliance on the advisor’s judgement for an objective and non-personal decision task. The results reveal no difference in the reliance on unfamiliar human and algorithmic advisors but in the reliance on familiar human and algorithmic advisors that err. Demonstrating an advisor’s ability to learn, however, offsets the effect of familiarity. Therefore, this study contributes to an enhanced understanding of algorithm aversion and is one of the first to examine how users perceive whether an IT system is able to learn. The findings provide theoretical and practical implications for the employment and design of AI-based systems.
Short bio: Benedikt Berger is an assistant professor of digital transformation and society at the Department of Information Systems at the University of Münster, Germany. He holds a Ph.D. in management from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany and an M.Sc. in management from the University of Mannheim, Germany. He was a visiting scholar at the Department of Information Technologies at HEC Montréal, Canada. His current research focuses on digital products and services as well as on the use, development, and management of IT systems based on artificial intelligence. His work has appeared in the Journal of Management Information Systems, Electronic Markets, Business and Information Systems Engineering and in various international conference proceedings.