DIG Profile: Helge Thorbjørnsen

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Photo: Anemone123 / Pixabay
By Stina Iren Boge

31 August 2021 11:03

DIG Profile: Helge Thorbjørnsen

Why are some services and technologies widely adopted, while others fail epically? DIG Professor Helge Thorbjørnsen is curious about how new digital services influence the cognition, affect and decisions of humans.

Helge Thorbjørnsen is professor of Consumer Behavior at NHH and head of the DIG Research topic: Adoption of Technologies and Innovations. He is currently working on a range of projects aimed at understanding how consumers think and act when exposed to fundamentally new products and services. One project is related to how consumers react to AI-based services and why consumers often prefer humans over machine interfaces.

Helge Thorbjørnsen. Foto: Thor Brødreskift

Another project is related to the sharing economy and aims to develop new theories and models for explaining consumer behavior in adoption of sharing services.

‘How can we overcome barriers of trust and lack of human presence in digital interfaces? How can we ‘nudge’ people to make better decisions and adopt new habits? And not least; What kind of decisions will we “delegate” to AI’s and what kind of decisions will we still prefer to make on our own? All these are fascinating and increasingly important questions’, says Thorbjørnsen.

Together with PhD-student Jareef Bin Martuza, the professor is also working on ways to increase honest behavior in digital interfaces.

‘Dishonest behavior is an increasing problem the more self-service technologies are being implemented’, Thorbjørnsen explains.

The Future of Consumer Behavior

Digitalization has already revolutionized consumer behavior and shifted power from brands to consumers. Looking forward, Thorbjørnsen believes that consumers will experience significant advances in automation, new AI-based services and more fuzzy boarders between old industries and new services.

Book Release September 30

This autumn, Helge Thorbjørnsen and Micael Dahlen at Stockholm School of Economics are releasing a book on how we as humans are being fooled by numbers “Tallskalle”.

Thorbjørnsen explains; ‘As consumers, we are currently drowning in numbers: The number of steps we walk, likes, followers, KPI’s, BMI, bonus points, big data and IoT. This book is all about how these numbers impact our lives, motivations and decisions’.   

‘I also believe we will see a dramatic development in the use of health-tech. What I am most curious and uncertain about, is what kind of changes we will see in consumers privacy concerns, the use of AI for decision support and not least how algorithms and fake news will influence our confidence in news, opinions and facts’, he finishes.