Electric Elves: What Went Wrong and Why

Milind Tambe


Software personal assistants continue to be a topic of significant research interest. This article outlines some of the important lessons learned from a successfully-deployed team of personal assistant agents (Electric Elves) in an office environment. In the Electric Elves project, a team of almost a dozen personal assistant agents were continually active for seven months. Each elf (agent) represented one person and assisted in daily activities in an actual office environment. This project led to several important observations about privacy, adjustable autonomy, and social norms in office environments. In addition to outlining some of the key lessons learned we outline our continued research to address some of the concerns raised.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v29i2.2123

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