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Millennials are Loving AI Chatbots–Here’s Why

When it comes to chatbots, likeability matters. We’ve come to expect AI to go beyond simple tasks and hold an engaging conversation. Virtual assistants are quick to deploy dad jokes. Alexa can even use Samuel L. Jackson’s voice to roast you. (It’s worth mentioning that you can censor Jackson, but that would ruin the fun.) It clearly pays to humanize your chatbot, especially in areas where emotional connection is important. Millennials are especially attuned to this social relationship with AI, according to a study titled, “Millennials’ attitude toward chatbots: an experimental study in a social relationship perspective” by Roberta De Cicco, Susana Costa e Silva, and Francesca Romana Alparone.

The study discusses an experiment on 193 millennials. Users interacted with one of four different chatbots. These were focused on either social interactions or task completion. Some were presented with a chatbot with an avatar while others were not. The experiment was designed to explore “social presence,” which is the degree to which the chatbot is perceived as a person. Essentially, the researchers hoped to find out how social presence changed the users’ impression of the bot. 

According to the study, more socially-oriented interactions produced better results. Social presence resulted in increases in perceived enjoyment as well as trust. The upshot of this is that a friendlier, more casual interaction between a person and a chatbot will be more rewarding for the user. As a result, these chats are more likely to result in conversions.