Super Mario Meets AI: The Effects of Automation on Team Performance and Coordination in a Videogame Experiment
55 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2021 Last revised: 11 May 2021
Date Written: December 10, 2020
We ask how the adoption of artificial intelligence affects teams, their routines, and performance in a laboratory experiment. We randomize the introduction of automated players and new hires into "laboratory firms" (Weber and Camerer, 2003) engaging in a coordination-based game on the Nintendo Switch console. We demonstrate experimentally that even in a task where AI outperforms humans, an automated videogame agent (e.g. Mario) decreases team performance. These effects are especially large in the short-term and in low- and medium-skilled teams whose skills we pretested. These effects are driven by an increase in coordination failures. We provide evidence that automation reduces team trust and individual effort provision. Overall, our team-based approach highlights that collaborative human-machine interaction is key to the positive transformation that AI may bring to teams, organizations, and work more broadly.
Keywords: Artificial intelligence, videogame experiments, human-machine interaction, productivity, routines, skills, tacit
JEL Classification: J24, C92, O33, J01
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation