Unplanned effects of intelligent agents on Internet use: A social informatics approach

Alexander Serenko, Umar Ruhi, Mihail Cocosila

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper instigates a discourse on the unplanned effects of intelligent agents in the context of their use on the Internet. By utilizing a social informatics framework as a lens of analysis, the study identifies several unanticipated consequences of using intelligent agents for information- and commerce-based tasks on the Internet. The effects include those that transpire over time at the organizational level, such as e-commerce transformation, operational encumbrance and security overload, as well as those that emerge on a cultural level, such as trust affliction, skills erosion, privacy attrition and social detachment. Furthermore, three types of impacts are identified: economic, policy, and social. The discussion contends that economic impacts occur on the organizational level, social effects transpire on a cultural level, and policy impacts take place on both levels. These effects of the use of intelligent agents have seldom been predicted and discussed by visionaries, researchers, and practitioners in the field. The knowledge of these unplanned outcomes can improve our understanding of the overall impacts that innovative agent technologies may potentially have on organizations and individuals. Subsequently, this may help us develop better agent applications, facilitate the formulation of appropriate contingencies, and provide impetus for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-166
Number of pages26
JournalAI and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan. 2007


  • Impacts
  • Intelligent agents
  • Internet
  • Socialin formatics


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