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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Twenty-Three: Rage Against the Machine: Negative Reactions and Antisocial Interactions with Social Bots and Social Robots (Patric R. Spence / Autumn P. Edwards / Chad Edwards / David Nemer / Kenneth A. Lachlan)


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Rage Against the Machine

Negative Reactions and Antisocial Interactions with Social Bots and Social Robots


Imagine taking a Lyft to the airport. As you are exchanging small talk with the driver the notification light starts to blink on your cellphone. When you activate the live camera screen you see that your telepresence robot is moving across the living room. This situation happened to one of the authors of this chapter. As it turned out, it was nothing nefarious, but rather a friend who had remote access to the robot and was excited to use the technology again. However, as this illustration points out, robots, both human-operated and autonomous, have uses that can stem from assistive to menacing. A friend with access can use a telepresence robot out of simple novelty or to spy on a home.

This chapter will outline existing research in human-machine interaction and outline potentials for abuse, misuse, and anti-social behaviors towards and from machines. We will focus on social bots—algorithms or artificial intelligence (AI) designed to act in ways that are similar to humans in social spaces online, and social robots—embodied social agents with anthropocentric, or human-like qualities. These interactions will be examined through what is known from published research, communication theory and emerging technologies. ← 262 | 263 →

Taking Down the Machine...

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