Artificial intelligence and communication: A Human–Machine Communication research agenda

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Abstract

Artificial intelligence (AI) and people’s interactions with it—through virtual agents, socialbots, and language-generation software—do not fit neatly into paradigms of communication theory that have long focused on human–human communication. To address this disconnect between communication theory and emerging technology, this article provides a starting point for articulating the differences between communicative AI and previous technologies and introduces a theoretical basis for navigating these conditions in the form of scholarship within human–machine communication (HMC). Drawing on an HMC framework, we outline a research agenda built around three key aspects of communicative AI technologies: (1) the functional dimensions through which people make sense of these devices and applications as communicators, (2) the relational dynamics through which people associate with these technologies and, in turn, relate to themselves and others, and (3) the metaphysical implications called up by blurring ontological boundaries surrounding what constitutes human, machine, and communication.

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Guzman, A. L., & Lewis, S. C. (2020). Artificial intelligence and communication: A Human–Machine Communication research agenda. New Media and Society, 22(1), 70–86. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444819858691

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