Schuetz, S.W. and Venkatesh, V. “Research Perspectives: The Rise of Human Machines: How Cognitive Computing Systems Challenge Assumptions of User-System Interaction,” Journal of the AIS (21:2), 2020, 460-482.
Cognitive computing systems (CCS) are a new class of computing systems that implement more human-like cognitive abilities. CCS are not a typical technological advancement but an unprecedented advance toward human-like systems fueled by artificial intelligence. Such systems can adapt to situations, perceive their environments, and interact with humans and other technologies. Due to these properties, CCS are already disrupting established industries, such as retail, insurance, and healthcare. As we make the case in this paper, the increasingly human-like capabilities of CCS challenge five fundamental assumptions that we as IS researchers have held about how users interact with IT artifacts. These assumptions pertain to (1) the direction of the user-artifact relationship, (2) the artifact’s awareness of its environment, (3) functional transparency, (4) reliability, and (5) the user’s awareness of artifact use. We argue that the disruption of these five assumptions limits the applicability of our extant body of knowledge to CCS. Consequently, CCS present a unique opportunity for novel theory development and associated contributions. We argue that IS is well positioned to take this opportunity and present research questions that, if answered, will lead to interesting, influential, and original theories.