Communicating with Machines: Interventions with Digital Agents

We are pleased to announce the schedule and list of papers for the “Communication with Machines: Interventions with Digital Agents” pre-conference at ICA 2017 in San Diego. See linked PDF below.

After all the presenters have registered, we will have 20 spots left for other attendees. If you would like to attend this pre-conference, please send an email to for further directions. If you are presenting, please register as soon as you can.

We are looking forward to this event. Thank you to all who submitted such high-quality work.


Chad Edwards and Autumn Edwards

Pre-Conference Program


ICA Pre-Conference Call for Papers  
May 25, 2017 in San Diego, CA (8:30 – 16:00)
San Diego Hilton Bayfront (on-site)

Digital interlocutors are increasingly standing in for humans in communication contexts. This pre-conference focuses on communication with and between humans and digital interlocutors that has the potential to engage, alter, and disrupt “normal” events, practices, and phenomena. We invite scholars from across ICA’s divisions and a variety of epistemological and methodological backgrounds to discuss their work related to Human-Machine Communication (HMC) interventions, which encompasses Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Robot Interaction, and Human-Agent Interaction, in this full-day pre-conference. We seek to raise awareness of and further develop HMC research and the scholarly community surrounding it.

Pre-Conference Focus

As artificial intelligence, robotics, and ICTs continue to develop and merge, we are increasingly interacting with digital interlocutors such as voice-based agents, robots, and social bots. 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. The recent surge of digital interlocutors into quotidian routines has been accompanied with questions – voiced by leading scientists as well as the average person – regarding the ramifications of these technologies and our interactions with them.

We will focus on the individual, cultural, and philosophical implications of the various ways in which we interact with machines. Possible topic areas for participant presentations include, but are not limited to, communicative practices between humans and digital interlocutors, the integration of artificial entities into private, professional, and political spaces, the incorporation of AI into journalism and other media industries, 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 hope to continue the conversation from last year’s post-conference in Japan, “Communicating with Machines: The Rising Power of Digital Interlocutors in our Lives.”

Pre-Conference Format

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.


Papers (750-1,000 words excluding references) should detail what the scholar plans to present and how it relates to the overall focus of the preconference on human-machine communication. We are interested in all forms of scholarship (theoretical, empirical, etc).  Papers should be submitted via email attachment to Autumn Edwards (

Accepted participants will be listed along with the titles of their presentations in both the ICA Conference and the HMC Preconference programs.

Deadline for submissions: 31 January 2017
Notification of acceptance: 15 February 2017

Location and Registration

The pre-conference will be held at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront, the site of the ICA 2017 Convention. Presently, the cost of registration is $75 USD for faculty and $50 USD for students. We are working with our generous sponsors to further decrease the fee.

Confirmed Participants/Organizers

  • Autumn Edwards, Western Michigan U
  • Chad Edwards, Western Michigan U
  • Andrea L. Guzman, Northern Illinois U
  • David J. Gunkel, Northern Illinois U
  • Steve Jones, U of Illinois at Chicago U
  • Austin Lee, Northern Kentucky U
  • Seth C. Lewis, University of Oregon
  • Jake Liang, Chapman U
  • Patric Spence, U of Kentucky


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