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      Artificial companions, social bots and work bots: communicative robots as research objects of media and communication studies

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      Media, Culture & Society

      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          The aim of this article is to outline ‘communicative robots’ as an increasingly relevant field of media and communication research. 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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          Most cited references 46

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              Man-Computer Symbiosis

               J. Licklider (1960)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Media, Culture & Society
                Media, Culture & Society
                SAGE Publications
                0163-4437
                1460-3675
                October 2020
                May 16 2020
                October 2020
                : 42
                : 7-8
                : 1410-1426
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Bremen, Germany
                Article
                10.1177/0163443720916412
                © 2020

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