Cognitive Load and Productivity Implications in Human-Chatbot Interaction

by   Johanna Schmidhuber, et al.

The increasing progress in artificial intelligence and respective machine learning technology has fostered the proliferation of chatbots to the point where today they are being embedded into various human-technology interaction tasks. In enterprise contexts, the use of chatbots seeks to reduce labor costs and consequently increase productivity. For simple, repetitive customer service tasks such already proves beneficial, yet more complex collaborative knowledge work seems to require a better understanding of how the technology may best be integrated. Particularly, the additional mental burden which accompanies the use of these natural language based artificial assistants, often remains overlooked. To this end, cognitive load theory implies that unnecessary use of technology can induce additional extrinsic load and thus may have a contrary effect on users' productivity. The research presented in this paper thus reports on a study assessing cognitive load and productivity implications of human chatbot interaction in a realistic enterprise setting. A/B testing software-only vs. software + chatbot interaction, and the NASA TLX were used to evaluate and compare the cognitive load of two user groups. Results show that chatbot users experienced less cognitive load and were more productive than software-only users. Furthermore, they show lower frustration levels and better overall performance (i.e, task quality) despite their slightly longer average task completion time.


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