OPM/IS 910 Prof. Jens Förderer, TU München – Campus Heilbronn

Jens Förderer

SO 133

im Rahmen des CDSB Research Seminars freuen wir uns Herrn Prof. Dr. Jens Förderer von der TU München – Campus Heilbronn bei uns begrüßen zu dürfen.

Am Mittwoch, dem 7.12. hat Herr Prof. Heinzl ihn eingeladen von 12:30 bis 13:30 Uhr einen Vortrag zum Thema „Is Using Smart Replies really Smart? An Empirical Investigation into the Negative Effects of AI Use“ in SO 133 zu halten.


Recent progress of in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in particular has dramatically increased predictive power in many areas, including assistive writing or image recognition. At the same time—and as with any technology—the adverse effects of firms employing AI are so far little understood. In this paper, we study the consequences of YouTube’s 2020 introduction of “Smart Replies”. Smart Replies allows channels to automatically reply to comments on their videos with algorithmically suggested answers. We implement a quasi-experimental research design, which exploits that YouTube introduced Smart Replies only for some but not all languages. The primary finding of our study is that the introduction of Smart Replies reduced viewer engagement with channels in terms of the number of comments posted. The effects differ depending on channel content and quality. In a set of further exploratory tests for mechanisms, we document that at least some of the effects can be attributed to commentators being alienated from less immediate interactions with channels. Nevertheless, the long-run effects of the Smart Replies feature are to be investigated. Our findings have important implications for firms that use AI in interactions with consumers.