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Human-Machine Communication

Rethinking Communication, Technology, and Ourselves


Edited By Andrea L. Guzman

From virtual assistants to social robots, people are increasingly interacting with intelligent and highly communicative technologies throughout their daily lives. This shift from communicating with people to communicating with people and machines challenges how scholars have theorized and studied communication. Human-Machine Communication: Rethinking Communication, Technology, and Ourselves addresses this transition in how people communicate and who, or what, they communicate with and the implications of this evolution for communication research. Geared toward scholars interested in people’s interactions with technology, this book serves as an introduction to human-machine communication (HMC) as a specific area of study within communication (encompassing human-computer interaction, human-robot interaction, and human-agent interaction) and to the research possibilities of HMC. This collection includes papers presented as part of a scholarly conference on HMC, along with invited works from noted researchers. Topics include defining HMC, theoretical approaches to HMC, applications of HMC, and the larger implications of HMC for self and society. The research presented here focuses on people’s interactions with multiple technologies (artificial intelligence, algorithms, and robots) used within different contexts (home, workplace, education, journalism, and healthcare) from a variety of epistemological and methodological approaches (empirical, rhetorical, and critical/cultural). Overall, Human-Machine Communication provides readers with an understanding of HMC in a way that supports and promotes further scholarly inquiry in a growing area of communication research.

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Terje Colbjørnsen is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of media and communication, University of Oslo and affiliated with the research project “Streaming the culture industries.” Colbjørnsen is here doing work on the business models and value networks of streaming services in the media and culture industries. He completed his PhD in 2015 on digital publishing in the Norwegian book industry, comprising five case studies of digital publishing innovations, including analyses of distribution systems, e-reading technologies, digital formats, market information regimes and new business models. Colbjørnsen has since done research on media debates on freedom of expression in Norway, before embarking on a project on user experiences of algorithmic recommendations. Other research interests include media policy and media economics, digital media VAT, institutional theory, bestsellers and popular culture, digitalization in libraries, photography and fiction. Previously employed as editor within online education, Colbjørnsen has also worked as an advisor with the Norwegian Association of Researchers.

Autumn P. Edwards (Ph.D., Ohio University, 2006) is professor of communication at Western Michigan University and co-director of the Communication and Social Robotics Labs. Her research centers on interpersonal communication processes in computer-mediated and human-machine contexts. Recent scholarship has focused on (1) articulating and testing the human-to-human interaction script in initial encounters between people and digital interlocutors, including social robots and artificially intelligent conversation agents, (2) identifying the ways in which people’s metaphysical assumptions shape human-machine communication, and (3) examining features of message design in communication...

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