Professor Jeroen Struben

How does artificial intelligence (AI) affect value creation and practices within markets, ecosystems, and communities? This study addresses this question by examining the transforming effects of AI on the international chess community. Chess is exceptional in having a longstanding
relation with AI, leading to chess engines exceeding world champion skill levels over two decades ago. Since then, chess players have begun to embrace AI – embodied in powerful specialized computer engines and databases – as a resource to gain competitive advantage. With that, chess practices, including preparation and playing style but also the social patterns within the chess community, have begun to change as well. To better understand the multiple past and ongoing patterns and their underlying mechanisms, this research proceeds in three stages that make use of the measurability of and data availability for key constructs in chess activities – level of performance, degree of participation, and quality and style of play, each at the macro (cross-country-) and micro- (individual-) level. First, I will analyze quantitatively the direct effects of AI on  hess performance across different membership strata within the chess community. Next, I will examine qualitatively and quantitatively the evolving practices of chess with a focus on the role of AI. Finally, I will develop a computational model to examine the mechanisms underlying transformations within the community as affected by AI. Beyond the specific context, this work will have practical implications for our understanding of the transformative effect of AI on communities of practice. Theoretically this work will contribute to organisational theory research on community transformation, as well to strategy research on ecosystem transformation.

Professor Struben is a social and systems scientist. His research focuses on market formation processes. In his projects, involving contexts including alternative mobility and nutritious food, he asks “how do alternative products and practices penetrate in the marketplace – or society at
large, rather than falter?” To analyze this, he studies the over-time interactions across stakeholders working through both social and material adoption challenges – such as the joint development of consumer familiarization, complementary infrastructure, and technology improvement. Professor Struben also examines the past and ongoing transformative impacts of artificial intelligence on the chess world – comprising competitive advantage, player practices, as well as the social fabric of the community. He uses methods ranging from simulation to empirical analysis of large spatiotemporal datasets. His research produces insights for scholars and practitioners about coordination and collective action across organizations, industries and governments, about dynamics of consumer choice, and about sustainability transformations. Through his research he has worked with leading organizations across a variety of sectors and continents ranging from automotive, energy, public health, and to fisheries. Professor Struben is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Organisation at emlyon. He teaches topics related systems thinking, sustainability, and innovation. He received his PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and holds an MsC in Physics from Delft University of Technology.