A Jagged Little Pill: Ethics, Behavior, and the AI-Data Nexus

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Virginia Tech


The proliferation of big data and the algorithms that utilize it have revolutionized the way in which individuals make decisions, interact, and live. This dissertation presents a structured analysis of behavioral ramifications of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data in contemporary society. It offers three distinct but interrelated explorations. The first chapter investigates consumer reactions to digital privacy risks under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an encompassing regulatory act in the European Union aimed at enhancing consumer privacy controls. This work highlights how consumer behavior varies substantially between high- and low-risk privacy settings. These findings challenge existing notions surrounding privacy control efficacy and suggest a more complex consumer risk assessment process. The second study shifts to an investigation of historical obstacles to consumer adherence to expert advice, specifically betrayal aversion, in financial contexts. Betrayal aversion, a well-studied phenomenon in economics literature, is defined as the strong dislike for the violation of trust norms implicit in a relationship between two parties. Through a complex simulation, it contrasts human and algorithmic financial advisors, revealing a significant decrease in betrayal aversion when human experts are replaced by algorithms. This shift indicates a transformative change in the dynamics of AI-mediated environments. The third chapter addresses nomophobia – the fear of being without one's mobile device – in the workplace, quantifying its stress-related effects and impacts on productivity. This investigation not only provides empirical evidence of nomophobia's real-world implications but also underscores the growing interdependence between technology and mental health. Overall, the dissertation integrates interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks and robust empirical methods to delineate the profound and often nuanced implications of the AI-data nexus on human behavior, underscoring the need for a deeper understanding of our relationship with evolving technological landscapes.



AI-Human Collaboration, AI Ethics, Experimental Economics, Econometrics, Data Privacy, Privacy Decision Making, Nomophobia