Authors: Alex Mari
Mari, A. (2020). Artificial Intelligence-based Voice Assistants as Social Media Platform: Anticipated Effect on Brands During Shopping. Journal of Creative Industries and Cultural Studies–JOCIS, 6 (1), 56–71.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies enable voice assistants (VA) such as Amazon Alexa and Alibaba Genie to perform activities that resemble cognitive functions associated with the human mind (Norvig, 2011). While performing complex tasks with consumers, VAs become more human-like exchange partners. As these AI-enabled devices learn consumer preferences and habits, they introduce biases and heuristics likely to affect individual and collective shopping behavior while posing new opportunities and threats for managers. Why should managers monitor the rapid diffusion of this novel ‘social media’ platform? What are the anticipated consequences for brands in the shopping context? This interpretative study uses in-depth interviews with elite informants (N = 31) to address these questions. Executives and experts predict that VAs assume a central relational role in the consumer market and progressively mediate market interactions. Simultaneously, they expect VA’s intrinsic social nature to influence consumption decisions increasingly. These fast-changing market dynamics within the context of voice commerce may have severe consequences for consumer brands. The main identified threats for managers and their implications are discussed.
Voice assistant, social media, voice commerce, brand management, platform ecosystem.