In recent years, a boom in research on human-machine communication (HMC) has become apparent. Herein, ‘machines’ are technologies that are designed to enact the role of communicator. This HMC research field aims to study how people interact with machines as communicators (i.e., artificial intelligence, social robots, digital agents, virtual assistants, chatbots) how people make sense of these interactions, what implications such interactions have for the individuals and society at large, and what the ethical implications are for the increased use of machines in our lives. HMC encompasses research within Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Robot Interaction, and Human-Agent Interaction.

The TWG is interested in theoretical and empirical contributions from a wide background of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and likes to facilitate exchange between science and practice. The TWG enables HMC research to be presented in coherent sessions at the annual ‘Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap’ and organizes activities (workshops, colloquia) throughout the year to promote discussion, networking, and cooperation among junior and senior HMC scholars.

The TWG was approved during NeFCA’s general assembly at the Etmaal 2022. The initiative for this proposal was taken by Tibor Bosse and Barbara Müller and over 50 scholars in the Netherlands and Flanders endorsed the proposal for the TWG. The research of the scholars interested in HMC focuses on interactions with chatbots, embodied digital agents such as VR agents or avatars on websites and in games, and robots; methods used contain (longitudinal) lab- and field experiments, survey studies, in-depth interviews, content analysis, and computational modelling.

The division’s steering committee consists of Tibor Bosse (Radboud University Nijmegen), Barbara Müller (Radboud University Nijmegen), Emmelyn Croes (Tilburg University), Evelien Heijselaar (Radboud University Nijmegen), Charlotte van Hooijdonk (Utrecht University), Bieke Zaman (KU Leuven), and Serge Thill (Radboud University Nijmegen). Marianna De Sa Siqueira (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Divyaa Balaji (University of Amsterdam) are the PhD representatives.