Consumer Choice and Autonomy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data

Springer Nature, December 19, 2017

Recent developments in the field of artificial intelligence and data analytics are facilitating the automation of some consumer chores (e.g., in smart homes and in self-driving cars) and allowing the emergence of big-data-driven, micro-targeting marketing practices (e.g., personalized content recommendation algorithms). A new article, co-authored by Analysis Group Manager Douglas Frank and published in Springer Nature, contends that those developments can generate a tension for marketers, consumers, and policy makers. On the one hand, they contribute to consumer well-being by making consumer choices easier, more practical, and more efficient. On the other hand, they can also undermine consumers' sense of autonomy, the absence of which can be detrimental to consumer well-being.

Drawing on diverse perspectives from marketing, economics, philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology, Dr. Frank and his co-authors explore how consumers' sense of autonomy in making choices affects their well-being. In addition, they discuss how new technologies may enhance or diminish consumers' perceptions of being in control of their choices and how either of those can, in turn, enhance or detract from consumer well-being. The authors also identify open research questions in the domain of choice, well-being, and consumer welfare, and suggest avenues for future research.

The article, "Consumer Choice and Autonomy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data," is co-authored by Dr. Frank along with academics from INSEAD (Quentin André, Ziv Carmon, and Klaus Wertenbroch), Stanford University (Alia Crum), University of Chicago (William Goldstein), Duke University (Joel Huber), University of Colorado Boulder (Leaf van Boven), University of Bonn (Bernd Weber), and Johns Hopkins University (Haiyang Yang).

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André Q, Carmon Z, Wertenbroch K, Crum A, Frank D, Goldstein W, Huber J, van Boven L, Weber B, Yang H