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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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4. “I’ll Present to the Human”: Effects of a Robot Evaluator on Anticipatory Public Speaking Anxiety (Chad Edwards / Brett Stoll / Autumn P. Edwards / Patric R. Spence / Andrew Gambino)


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4. “I’ll Present to the Human”: Effects of a Robot Evaluator on Anticipatory Public Speaking Anxiety


The growing convergence of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) within numerous fields begs the question not only of machine effectiveness but also of what potential influence such technologies may exert beyond their intended roles. In education, the concept of evaluation robots is rising in popularity. During a time when the scrutiny of education budgets and student assessment scores is at an all-time high, this increased interest in educational robots is not surprising. A movement to even partial automation of teaching has vast implications for consistent content dissemination and overall cost-savings in schools. However, as robots gain ground in education, the use of such technologies has faced criticism regarding practicality and effectiveness.

More research-driven assessments of social robotics in the classroom are needed to assess the actual value these technologies add for students rather than following a pattern of rapid technology adoption without adequate testing. Such adoption tends to exacerbate an already stressed classroom environment and creates additional workload for teachers (Reich-Stiebert & Eyssel, 2016). In our current state of technological advancement, teachers, designers, and researchers have more options than ever for classroom implementation. With social robotics in particular, educators are presented with something more than just a new tool; they are faced with a potential new teaching partner....

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