What can you do? Studying social-agent orientation and agent proactive interactions with an agent for employees
Personal agent software is now in daily use in personal devices and in some organizational settings. While many advocate an agent sociality design paradigm that incorporates human-like features and social dialogues, it is unclear whether this is a good match for professionals who seek productivity instead of leisurely use. We conducted a 17-day field study of a prototype of a personal AI agent that helps employees find work-related information. Using log data, surveys, and interviews, we found individual differences in the preference for humanized social interactions (social-agent orientation), which led to different user needs and requirements for agent design. We also explored the effect of agent proactive interactions and found that they carried the risk of interruption, especially for users who were generally averse to interruptions at work. Further, we found that user differences in socialagent orientation and aversion to agent proactive interactions can be inferred from behavioral signals. Our results inform research into social agent design, proactive agent interaction, and personalization of AI agents.