Andreas Hepp Argues for communicative robots as an emerging field of media and communication research IN THE CURRENT ISSUE OF THE media, culture & society.

Abstract: Communicative robots are defined as autonomously operating systems designed for the purpose of quasi-communication with human beings to enable further algorithmic-based functionalities – often but not always on the basis of artificial intelligence. Examples of these communicative robots can be seen in the now familiar artificial companions such as Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, the social bots present on social media platforms or work bots that automatically generate journalistic content. In all, the article proceeds in three steps. Initially, it takes a closer look at the three examples of artificial companions, social bots and work bots in order to accurately describe the phenomenon and their recent insinuation into everyday life. This will then allow me to grasp the challenges posed by the increasing need to deal with communicative robots in media and communication research. It is from this juncture from where I would like to draw back on the discussion about the automation of communication and clearly outline how communicative robots are more likely than physical artefacts to be experienced at the interface of automated communication and communicative automation.

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