Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to transform firm-customer interactions. However, current AI marketing agents are often perceived as cold and uncaring and can be poor substitutes for human-based interactions. Addressing this issue, this article argues that artificial empathy needs to become an important design consideration in the next generation of AI marketing applications. Drawing from research in diverse disciplines, we develop a systematic framework for integrating artificial empathy into AI-enabled marketing interactions. We elaborate on the key components of artificial empathy and how each component can be implemented in AI marketing agents. We further explicate and test how artificial empathy generates value for both customers and firms by bridging the AI-human gap in affective and social customer experience. Recognizing that artificial empathy may not always be desirable or relevant, we identify the requirements for artificial empathy to create value and deduce situations where it is unnecessary and, in some cases, harmful.
- Artificial empathy · Artificial intelligence · Perspective taking · Empathic concern · Emotion mimicry · Customer experience