From Forced to Voluntary AI Adoption

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Xinyu Cao

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Dennis Zhang

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Date Written: July 2, 2020

Abstract

This paper studies whether forced extrinsic interventions can catalyze long-term behavioral change, with a focus on the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Specifically, we investigate whether forcing people to use or not to use AI for a period of time can change their post-intervention AI usage, making use of a field experiment among salespeople in a major online education platform in China. This experiment involved 171 salespeople who were randomly assigned to two treatment groups and one control group. We find that forcing salespeople to use AI for a period of time increases their post-intervention AI usage by 17.9 percentage points compared to those in the control group. On the contrary, restricting salespeople from using AI decreases their post-intervention AI usage by 7.6 percentage points compared to the control group. We also empirically test two possible underlying mechanisms---belief updating and habit formation. We find that, while restricting people from using AI reduces their post-intervention AI usage mostly due to habit formation, forcing people to use AI increases their post-intervention AI usage mainly because their belief about AI gets positively updated.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Post-Intervention Effect, Field Experiment, Salesforce Management

Suggested Citation

Cao, Xinyu and Zhang, Dennis, From Forced to Voluntary AI Adoption (July 2, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Xinyu Cao (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Dennis Zhang

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

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