AI for a Better Future

Open Date: 15th of September 2024

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is permeating individuals’ daily lives and as such has various long-term marketing implications (Sahoo et al., 2023). For example, brands and consumers rely on AI agents to perform daily tasks (e.g., using Alexa voice-assistant at home), provide emotional support (e.g., having a Replika social companion), or perform critical services in restaurants (e.g., humanoid service robot Pepper serving coffee).

Given their humanlike characteristics, such AI agents act as emotional and social actors for different industries and possess a long-term transformative potential (Henkel et al., 2020). In addition, the latest developments of AI -i.e., Generative AI- is revolutionizing the way we live; and rapidly transforming industries and society, making it possible to solve complex problems and create more efficient and effective solutions (Ameen et al., 2023).

For instance, ChatGPT can help marketers brainstorm ideas faster and make decisions quicker to help societies by informing and educating consumers. The positive effects of AI technology have been documented in extant marketing studies, with positive effects on consumers’ well-being, self-esteem, identity and self-efficacy (Hollebeek and Belk, 2021; Ameen et al., 2022a; Marikyan et al., 2023). Other studies have recently highlighted the transhumanist potential of wearable robotic technologies (Mende et al., 2023) to deliver superior marketing experiences and technologically-augment employees and consumers’ capabilities (Ameen et al., 2022b).

However, AI can also create negative consequences such as the spread of fake news, inaccurate content and misinformation to name a few. For instance, the answers generated by ChatGPT are indistinguishable from human-generated content (Dwivedi et al., 2023), leading to issues related to the recognition of authorship rights. Hence, AI technology can pose challenges to practitioners (e.g., design of ethical AI uses for consumers) and policymakers (e.g., potential misinformation risks for consumers, disruption to societies through delegation of tasks). The negative side of AI technology (e.g., potential to co-destruct value, misinformation risks, negative effects on emotions) remains a relevant area for further inquiry (Blut et al., 2021; Filieri et al., 2022; McCarthy et al., 2023).

For instance, AI technology give rise to new ethical and privacy-related implications (Birkstedt et al., 2023; Wirtz et al., 2023). AI-based decisions can legitimize discrimination (i.e., gender or racial disparities) because they are perceived by consumers as less biased than human-based decisions (Bonezzi and Ostinelli, 2021) and possibly worsen discriminatory practices against consumers in marginalized communities. Opportunities thus exist to advance our understanding of the implications of AI technology in marketing and promote dialogue on its role on shaping a better future and creating long-term positive impact on societies.

The purpose of this special issue is to focus on the interplay between different forms of AI technology (e.g., Generative AI, chatbots, voice-assistants, service robots, fitness trackers), marketing and their implications for different stakeholders (i.e., consumers, businesses, frontline employees and society). Contributions to this special issue are invited to explore the conditions under which AI technology may have positive and/or negative effects on individuals’ behaviors, emotions, perceptions of well-being, social inclusion, ethical concerns and transformative service experiences. In doing so, we aim to offer insights on the effective and efficient use of AI technology in marketing.

Thus, we welcome submissions focusing on behavioural research which explore the marketing implications of AI-powered technologies and offer novel methodological or empirical contributions. We particularly seek interdisciplinary perspectives in Marketing and Information Systems that would stimulate a future research agenda and offer recommendations on how AI technology can lead to optimal experiences for people. Many global challenges still exist which need new forms of collaborations between marketing academics, practitioners and policymakers.

The special issue would develop a knowledge base for insightful discussions on these topics. Submissions may come from a wide range of methodological approaches (such as netnography, field studies, experimental studies, survey research, data mining, machine learning, qualitative research).

List of Topic Areas:

AI technology, vulnerability and negative emotions

AI technology drives challenges for vulnerable consumers which need to be understood, managed, and mitigated in order to facilitate value exchange and shape societies in a better and more sustainable way (Ma et al., 2023).

Challenges such as technology access, perceptions of powerlessness, dependence and lack of resources can create disparities where AI may threaten consumers’ emotional welfare. Relatedly, research on the effects of AI usage on less advantageous groups (such as single parents, elderly, refugees, disabled) who face current pressures remain limited (Benvenuti et al., 2023) and need to be tackled to achieve collective benefits. Interactions with AI technology can also create negative emotions.

For example, relationships with AI friends can cause addiction for vulnerable lonely users (Marriott and Pitardi, 2024). Therefore, topics of interest relating to AI technology, consumer vulnerability and negative emotions may include:

  • Digital consumer vulnerability challenges
  • Asymmetries of resources during consumer-AI interactions
  • Risks and threats of AI technology on psychological well-being
  • AI technology, vulnerable consumers and social support
  • AI technology, emotional regulation and negative effects (e.g., addiction, stress and unhealthy habits) · Negative emotions (e.g., anxiety, loneliness and anger)

AI technology, society, and consumer inclusion

Discussions around the impact of AI technologies on society have pointed out the negative aspects of its implementation: job loss, inequality and dehumanization (Wirtz et al., 2023).

However, AI holds the potential to develop and operate efficient and effective public services, support bureaucracy and governance, and be a tool for social good (Moon, 2023). For instance, it can help raising awareness and combat climate change (Cowls et al., 2021). To enable the positive impacts on society, scholars called for an inclusive AI, a technology designed, developed and deployed to ensure that all individuals are included throughout all the usage stages of the technology (Moon, 2023). This will also require transparency over the technology and its functions to be achieved through AI literacy education.

Topics of interest relating to AI technology, society and consumer inclusion may include:

  • The use of AI by government and public services for the social good
  • The potential of AI technology in generating awareness of big issues of the day (e.g., climate change, refugee crisis).
  • The role of different types of stakeholders in promoting AI literacy among consumers
  • How AI can be used to support effective implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives in multicultural marketplaces

AI technology for a better customer experience

AI technologies have revolutionized the delivery of products and services as they offer efficient processes, deliver personalized interactions and continue to disrupt the future of customer journeys (Hoyer et al., 2020). Empathetic AI-based technologies enhance experiential value, which is key in generating satisfaction, well-being and long-term positive outcomes (Liu-Thompkins et al., 2022). The use of AI technologies has contributed to the creation of better and more engaging customer experiences (Jessen et al., 2020) whereby AI-powered agents may also fulfil a transformative role (e.g., a friend or mentor) for people. Yet, some unintended consequences might occur during human-AI interactions (e.g., disengagement and loss of autonomy) which would lead to value destruction. For example, service robots can lead to different types of challenges during a service delivery which impact the well-being of customers, frontline employees and managers (Phillips et al., 2023).

Topics of interest relating to AI technology and customer experience may include:

  • The role of firms in delivering AI-powered transformative experiences
  • The use of AI technology in healthcare, education and financial services
  • Engagement and disengagement with AI and their consequences on well-being
  • Unintended negative effects of AI on customer experience

AI technology and ethical concerns: biases, privacy and misinformation

Important ethical concerns over fairness, privacy and the spread of misinformation may arise from the deployment of AI technologies in the market (Wirtz et al., 2023). For instance, when adopted in selection such as loans applications and recruitment decisions, AI can perpetuate human biases reinforcing existing racial and gender stereotypes (Bonezzi and Ostinelli, 2021) and result in unfair outcomes (Hunkenschroer and Luetge, 2022). Given its reliance on large volume of public and private data, AI can pose risks to data security and privacy. Examples include issues related to data breaches, data manipulation and identity theft, as well as highly personalized advertising, online tracking and ubiquitous surveillance (Wirtz and Pitardi, 2023). Latest version of the technology allows for the creation of AI-fabricated misinformation.

For example, deepfakes – digital manipulated synthetic media contents - can be used to spread marketplace deception (Di Domenico et al., 2023) and generative AI tools such as ChatGPT can introduce false, inaccurate or misleading contents (OpenAI, 2023). Thus, potential topics of interest may include:

  • The use of AI technology for ethical services: opportunities and threats
  • The role of AI technology in perpetuating biases and stereotypes and its effect on consumers
  • Fairness of AI technology in selection processes · Risks of AI privacy concerns (data breach, ubiquitous surveillance and online tracking) on consumers’ enduring well-being
  • Risks of AI-fabricated misinformation or disinformation for consumers, firms and society

Guest Editors: 

Liliane Abboud, University of Surrey, UK 
Nisreen Ameen, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK 
Valentina Pitardi, University of Surrey, UK 
Hyunju Shin, Kennesaw State University, USA

Submissions Information:

Click here to Submit!

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access is available through the journal’s ScholarOne page

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. To access the Author Guidelines, please see the journal homepage.

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”.

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines:

Opening date:15th of September 2024
Closing date: 1st of December 2024


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