9/30 – Robot-Mediated Communication – Grayson Begier

In Robot-Mediated Communication, Herring argues the need for a new framework to guide future study of telepresence robot-mediated discourse and language use. In this study, Herring discusses robot-mediated communication (RMC) and its purpose, the technological properties of telepresence robots, communication and social interaction of telepresence robots, language and discourse in RMC, and the future of telepresence robotics and RMC. She further examines five categories of language use in RMC that she believes could be addressed by existing linguistic methods of analysis.

Herring argues that structure, meaning: word choice/use, meaning: pragmatics, interaction management and social phenomena are different lenses we can view RMC through to address different questions and methods. Herring’s framework of the five categories serves as potential research to the evolution of telepresence robots. She believes that close analysis of language and discourse in RMC, experimental methods, and surveys and interviews are necessary in the robot’s effectiveness as a mode of communication. However, lingering questions regarding RMC and telepresence robots remain. Herring discusses the current recommendations in telepresence literature as other researchers and engineers are still brainstorming ways to increase the effectiveness and usability of robots.

I really enjoyed this study because Herring didn’t use complex descriptions or terms while explaining her research methods. As a result, I could understand her thought process and better understand the world of RMC and telepresence robots. With the pandemic, our society has transitioned over to platforms like Skype and Zoom allowing the world to keep operating as it should. However, as more advanced technology rolls out, the idea of robots in classrooms and workplaces steadily grows more realistic. I’m not sure how I feel about telepresence robots because I’ve always been against robots and advanced technology. However, I do see the benefits of robots and I believe their impact is positive to the advancement of our society.

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