July 2023

IZA DP No. 16293: Corrupted by Algorithms? How AI-Generated and Human-Written Advice Shape (Dis)Honesty

Margarita Leib, Nils Köbis, Rainer Michael Rilke, Marloes Hagens, Bernd Irlenbusch

Artificial Intelligence (AI) increasingly becomes an indispensable advisor. New ethical concerns arise if AI persuades people to behave dishonestly. In an experiment, we study how AI advice (generated by a Natural-Language-processing algorithm) affects (dis)honesty, compare it to equivalent human advice, and test whether transparency about advice source matters. We find that dishonesty-promoting advice increases dishonesty, whereas honesty-promoting advice does not increase honesty. This is the case for both AI and human advice. Algorithmic transparency, a commonly proposed policy to mitigate AI risks, does not affect behaviour. The findings mark the first steps towards managing AI advice responsibly.