Whoa, so consumers still sometimes prefer products created by humans.

Despite the advances in robotics and artificial intelligence which are transforming the economy, in situations where product uniqueness is important, people would rather know humans were involved in its creation.

So concluded new research from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, where Stefano Puntoni, Professor of Marketing, said:

“Companies tend to make automation decisions based on supply-side arguments like efficiency and cost. But what about demand-side arguments? What if customer interest is higher when humans are involved in production activities?

“Our studies document strong demand-side effects of this kind for symbolic products, those that connote abstract concepts like values, traits, or group membership.

“These demand-side effects provide incentives for companies to keep humans in employment even when a particular job could be entirely automated.”

"It is clear that in times of rapid technological progress, the role that people will continue to play in production processes depends not only on cost and efficiency, but also on the consumption context and consumer preferences."


  • Stefano Puntoni
    Role: Faculty
    Reference type: Quoted

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