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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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10. Communicating With Machines: Robots as the Next New Media (Sakari Taipale / Leopoldina Fortunati)


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10. Communicating With Machines: Robots as the Next New Media


The coming of robots into the domestic sphere and their presence in everyday life opens a new phase in the study of human-machine interaction. In comparison to ordinary information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as cell phones, personal computers, or tablets, robots can move and do physical things, but they are also more autonomous, interactive, and capable of learning about their users (Böhlen & Karppi, 2017b; Breazeal, 2002; Duffy, Rooney, O’ Hare, & O’ Donoghue, 1999). What remains to be understood is whether or not people are ready to take advantage of the more advanced capabilities of robots and, consequently, if robots could be the next new media (Kidd & Breazeal, 2008; Gates, 2008). To find answers to these questions, this chapter1 will analyze and discuss EU citizens’ perception of robots with the aid of the Special Eurobarometer Public Attitudes towards Robots data, which was collected on the behalf of the European Commission from the citizens of the European Union (EU), hereafter Europeans, aged 15 and over, in 27 member states in 2012 (N = 26,751) (Eurobarometer, 2012). At the present time, this is the largest and most representative survey carried out on the attitudes of people in Europe toward robots. Most of the previous studies on this topic are based on qualitative methodology or they depend on convenience samples, typically drawn from...

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