Human-Machine Communication

ICA Pre-Conference 2019



Communicating with Machines: Boundless Imagination

Date: May 24, 2019 (Friday)

Time: 8:30AM - 4:30PM

Location: Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington DC

In concert with the International Communication Association's conference theme of "Communication Beyond Boundaries," our fourth annual pre/post-conference on Human-Machine Communication (HMC) explores communication between humans and digital interlocutors, and its innovative theoretical and practical applications that cross the boundaries of research domains. We invite scholars from across ICA’s divisions and a variety of epistemological and methodological backgrounds to discuss their work related to HMC, which encompasses Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Robot Interaction, and Human-Agent Interaction, in this full-day pre-conference.

Past Events

2018 ICA Pre-Conference, Communicating with Machines: Theory and Practice, Prague, Czech Republic

2017 ICA Pre-Conference, Communicating with Machines: Interventions with Digital Agents, San Diego, California

2016 ICA Post-Conference, Communicating with Machines: The Rising Power of Digital Interlocutors in Our Lives, Fukuoka, Japan

2015 ICA BlueSky Workshop, Beyond Human: Developing Human-Machine Communication Research, San Juan, Puerto Rico


As information communication technology continues to develop and merge, we are increasingly interacting with digital interlocutors such as voice-based agents, chatbots, and social robots. We also are sending and receiving messages to and from wearable devices. We directly interact with the technologies surrounding us, and digital entities have been and continue to stand in for humans in everyday communication contexts. In the past few years alone, a whole host of robotic and digital technologies, from Apple's Siri to Softbank’s Pepper, have been made available to the average consumer. This recent surge of digital interlocutors into everyday routines has been accompanied by questions regarding the ramifications of these technologies and our interactions with them. Scholars and practitioners of communication are uniquely situated to be leaders in discussions in Human-Machine Communication (HMC).

In HMC, technology is conceptualized as more than a channel or medium: it enters into the role of a communicator, and the messages flow between and among humans and machines (Guzman, 2018). In this preconference, we will focus on the individual, cultural, and philosophical implications of such interactions. Possible topic areas for participant presentations include, but are not limited to, communicative practices between humans and digital interlocutors, the incorporation of AI into journalism and other media industries, the integration of artificial entities into private, professional, and political spaces, the cultural discourse surrounding these technologies, relationship dynamics between humans and machines, reinterpretations and representations of humans as digital entities, and intercultural aspects of HMC. We invite scholars from ICA’s many divisions to discuss their work regarding the individual, cultural, and philosophical implications of machine/digital interventions. We seek to raise awareness of and further develop HMC research and the scholarly community surrounding it.

Our goal is to provide a space for participants to present their research and engage in conversation with one another. We have adopted a two-tiered format in which some scholars will be invited to deliver a paper presentation while others will be invited to take part in a poster session. More details are forthcoming.


Start End Session Lincoln East (Concourse Level) Shaw (First Floor)
08:30 AM 10:00 AM Opening Session How We Perceive Machines
10:15 AM 11:30 AM Breakout Session I Machines in Context Agency & Intentionality
11:30 AM 12:45 PM Lunch
12:45 PM 1:30 AM Breakout Session II Panel: Communicative Robots Machine Ethics
1:45 PM 3:00 PM Breakout Session III AI & Automated Journalism Persuasion, Trust & Affordance
3:15 PM 4:30 PM Closing Session Conversing with Machines

Printable version

Each presenter will have a 7-minute high-density oral presentation followed by a 2-minute Q&A session

How We Perceive Machines Chair: S. Austin Lee
1. Robots revisited: Cyberdystopia, robotphobia, and social perceptions of robots in the evolving AI landscape Kate K. Mays, Sarah Krongard & James E. Katz
2. Anchored imagination: Media robot recall and perceptions of actual robots Jaime Banks
3. “It’s like a cartoon character that can teach my children”: Expectations, perceptions and parental mediation practices of parents with Sima robot at home Carmina Rodríguez-Hidalgo
4. Does transparency about a robot’s lack of human psychological capacities affect children’s robot evaluations? An experimental study Caroline van Straten, Jochen Peter, Rinaldo Kühne, Chiara de Jong & Alex Barco
5. It’s okay because I like you: The role of a social robot’s reward valence in people’s evaluation of an expectancy violation Aike C. Horstmann & Nicole C. Krämer
6. Things with personality: The impact of perceived similarity and personality of voice-based assistants on their perceived subjecthood Katrin Etzrodt, Lisa Weidmüller & Sven Engesser
7. Alexa, why are you so stupid? Exploring empathy towards insulted virtual personal assistants versus humans Riley Richards & Austin Beattie
8. Investigating behavioral tendencies towards social robots Hannah Mieczkowski, Sunny Xun Liu, Jeffrey Hancock & Byron Reeves
9. Toward a common social distance scale for robots and humans Jaime Banks & Autumn P. Edwards
Machines in Context Chair: Autumn Edwards
10. Social bots and how to find them: Human-machine communication in political discourses on Twitter Franziska Martini, Paul Samula, Tobias R. Keller & Ulrike Klinger
11. Examining the adoption of social robots in the service sector: The case of Japan Laura Aymerich-Franch & Iliana Ferrer
12. The affect and ambivalence of a “useless” robot Keiko Nishimurea
13. “She’s like the world’s Barbie doll.”: Gendering the Vocaloid Hatsune Miku CarrieLynn D. Reinhard & Christopher J. Olson
14. Embodied identity in the age of virtual reality: Design and accessibility impacts on equity and inclusion in the workplace Donna Davis & Shelby Stanovsek
15. Assisted Living Technology Assistance (ALTA): Alzheimer’s disease and communication theory in a smart home system Katey Price
16. All your data is belong to us: Wearable biodesign and the future of human machine communication Elizabeth Wissinger
17. On a topological paradigm of surveillance in smart environments Sungyong Ahn
Agency and Intentionality Chair: Chad Edwards
18. Facebook as a communicative other: Exploring user agency in human-machine communication Sander Schwartz
19. Social presence: The link between social expectancies and virtual agents Cui Min Lim
20. How important is agency? The persuasive consequences of interacting with a chatbot as a new entity Carolin Ischen & Theo Araujo
21. Ventriloquizing leadership and ideologies: Imbricated agency of Slackbots in organizational social media Salla-M Laaksonen & Anu Sivunen
22. Robots with minds: On the eeriness of robots with agency and experience Markus Appel
23. When your co-worker is a machine: The implications of Industry 4.0 for organizational socialization and worker training Theresa Castor
24. Why did it do that?: Designing explainability using people’s conceptualizations of robot intentionality Maartje M.A. de Graaf & Bertram F. Malle
25. Personal media: How human-machine collaboration influences decision making based on relational closeness Andrew Gambino & S. Shyam Sundar
Panel: Communicative Robots: Human-Machine Communication, The Automation of Communication and Its Social Implications Chair: Steve Jones
26. Finding out a machine wrote that story: What consumers’ reactions to “robot reporters” can tell us about the value of journalists Andrea L. Guzman
27. Communicative robots in pioneer journalism: Automated journalism as an entanglement of bots and practices Andreas Hepp & Wiebke Loosen
28. Automated social engineering with socialbots: Manipulating humans Robert W. Gehl
29. Communicative robots as an educational tool and argument: Educational robotics as a critical tool Leopoldina Fortunati, Giovanni Ferrin & Andrea Zuncheddu
Machine Ethics Chair: Xilaing Lin
30. Chatbots communicating with patients: Considering trust and ethics Henning Skarbø
31. Projecting the future: Ethical reflections after the robot avatar embodiment experiments Laura Aymerich-Franch
32. Video games, morality, and robots: Examining players moral decision making in Quantic Dream’s Detroit Become Human Matthew J. Craig & Chad Edwards
33. Faith works: Cultivating robotics, spirituality and human communication in A.I. systems Pauline Cheong
Artificial Intelligence & Automated Journalism Chair: Andrea L. Guzman
34. Artificial intelligence: Utopia or dystopia? A comparative study of news frames of two AI milestone events Colin Porlezza
35. Hi-tech in lo-fi. emotional AI, skeuomorphic design, and media archeology Nello Barile
36. Pseudo-AI: The workplace implications of ontological obfuscation Gemma Newlands
37. Understanding of decisions made by artificial intelligence based hiring tool Joo-Wha Hong
38. What if AI becomes racist?: The relationship between autonomy of computers and blame in human-machine communication Joo-Wha Hong
39. Automated journalism: Expendable or supplementary for the future of journalistic work? Aljosha Karim Schapals
40. Reception of automated news: A critical review and recommendations for future research Jessica Kunert & Neil Thurman
Persuasion, Trust & Affordance Chair: Jaime Banks
41. Bounded rationality and boundless imagination: Heuristics-based approach to studying human-machine communication Saraswathi Bellur
42. Persuasion via virtual assistants: The influence of voice and human name on concerns and persuasive outcomes Hilde Voorveld & Theo Araujo
43. Human-robot proxemics and compliance gaining S. Austin Lee
44. Designing for emotional wellbeing: Integrating persuasion and customization into mental health technologies Alice Renwen Zhang
45. Is a robo-advisor trustworthy? Exploring the effects of personality in an interactive financial decision-making task Yihan Xu, Cui Min Lim & Kwan Min Lee
46. Investigating the information processing of AI-generated content: A comparison between American and Chinese respondents Ekaterina Novozhilova, Yi Mou & Kun Xu
47. “Interacting with my robot affords me to …”: Applying the communication affordances approach to human robot Carmina Rodríguez-Hidalgo & Rinaldo Kühne
48. Convenient but discontent: Developing an information privacy model for home-based digital assistants Steffie S. Kim & David C. Jeong
Conversing with Machines Chair: Patric Spence
49. The ears tell the eyes where to look: Sound interface design & the listening-subject Hadar Levy-Landesberg
50. Loto-doc : Exploring chatbot in interactive documentary Julia Salles & Luciano Frizzera
51. Chatbots or humans in customer-service? A multi-method study of service quality and customer satisfaction Philipp Bachmann, Kateryna Djafarov & Lisa Felsenstein
52. Conceptualizing social presence and anthropomorphism in human-chatbot communication in a customer service context Margot van der Goot, Carmina Rodriguez-Hidalgo & Tyler Pilgrim
53. Effects of gender and conversation style on user experience of embodied financial technology agents Cui Min Lim, Yihan Xu & Kwan Min Lee
54. Sex chat with human and machine partners: Enjoyment, arousal, and affect as agent-agnostic Jaime Banks & Joris Van Ouytsel
55. Robots as communicative agents: Investigating the privacy implications Christoph Lutz, Maren Schöttler & Christian Pieter Hoffmann
56. From speaking like a person to being personal: The effects of personalised, regular interactions with conversational agents Theo Araujo & Nadine Bol


Support the formation of a Human-Machine Communication Interest Group at ICA

After years of successful HMC events at the annual ICA conference, we are submitting the paperwork to become a formal ICA Interest Group. Part of this process requires that we collect signatures of support from current ICA members. These signatures will accompany our formal petition to the association for a vote by the Board of Directors.



Autumn Edwards

Western Michigan University


Chad Edwards

Western Michigan University


Patric Spence

University of Central Florida


David J. Gunkel

Northern Illinois University


Andrea Guzman

Northern Illinois University


Steve Jones

University of Illinois - Chicago


Austin Lee

Chapman University


Seungahn Nah

University of Oregon