pp 1–10 | Cite as

Artificial intelligence assistants and risk: framing a connectivity risk narrative

  • Martin CunneenEmail author
  • Martin Mullins
  • Finbarr Murphy
Open Forum


Our social relations are changing, we are now not just talking to each other, but we are now also talking to artificial intelligence (AI) assistants. We claim AI assistants present a new form of digital connectivity risk and a key aspect of this risk phenomenon is related to user risk awareness (or lack of) regarding AI assistant functionality. AI assistants present a significant societal risk phenomenon amplified by the global scale of the products and the increasing use in healthcare, education, business, and service industry. However, there appears to be little research concerning the need to not only understand the changing risks of AI assistant technologies but also how to frame and communicate the risks to users. How can users assess the risks without fully understanding the complexity of the technology? This is a challenging and unwelcome scenario. AI assistant technologies consist of a complex ecosystem and demand explicit and precise communication in terms of communicating and contextualising the new digital risk phenomenon. The paper then argues for the need to examine how to best to explain and support both domestic and commercial user risk awareness regarding AI assistants. To this end, we propose the method of creating a risk narrative which is focused on temporal points of changing societal connectivity and contextualised in terms of risk. We claim the connectivity risk narrative provides an effective medium in capturing, communicating, and contextualising the risks of AI assistants in a medium that can support explainability as a risk mitigation mechanism.


Artificial intelligence assistants Risk Connectivity Narratology Risk communication Risk perception Explainability Informed consent Data commodification Data monetisation 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Cunneen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martin Mullins
    • 1
  • Finbarr Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LimerickLimerickIreland

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