All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Robots as New Media: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Social and Cognitive Responses to Robotic and On-Screen Agents
Unformatted Document Text:  2 INTRODUCTION Social scientists love to classify things, and media technologies are no exception. McLuhan’s (1964) famous classification of media as “hot” or “cold” varied across the dimensions of definition and participation but applied, for example, to all of television or all reading. How should classifications handle media enabled by computers? A computer can serve as a movie theater, radio, telephone, and printing press simultaneously. This study is about media characters that can be either represented on a screen (e.g., familiar television portrayals or intelligent computer agents) or actual physical objects (e.g., robots) that exist in the same environment with users. How should these robots fit among classifications of communication technologies? One way of answering this question is to compare robots with other media. While experiencing traditional media like a movie, for example, someone might say that an action movie kept him or her “on the seat of my pants,” or that a romance was an “emotional rollercoaster.” The feeling of “being there” has been an important concept for communication researchers as well, since it most certainly contributes to the social, cognitive, and emotional effects of media that our field seeks to address. When characters and their interactions leave the screen and enter the physical world of the audience, is the sense of “being there” heightened? Steuer (1992) used the concept of tele-presence to define “the experience of presence in an environment by means of a communication medium.” While the focus of Steuer’s discussion was specifically geared towards the virtual reality technology of the early 90’s, it serves as a useful starting point for conceptually thinking about the role of robots as a mediated communication experience. According to Steuer, there are two sets of variables that influence tele-presence. The first, vividness, refers to the sensorial richness of a particular mediated environment. We can look at robots in a couple of different ways along this dimension. Aesthetically speaking, today’s robots are primitive when judged alongside the computer-generated graphics and special effects that make up any large-budget movie. They are still bulky, stiff, noisy, and fragile. On the other hand, a robot is able to move beyond the confinement of a two- dimensional screen and inhabit the same physical realm that viewers inhabit. From a viewer’s perspective, this ability would seem to be a radical departure from the vividness of the television or movie screen. Imagine the difference between watching a music video and sitting in the front row of a Rolling Stones concert or seeing a televised rendition of Romeo and Juliet on PBS as opposed to a live performance by the Royal Shakespearean Theater Company. Granted, live performances have the capability to engage senses beyond the scope of television or the movies, but perhaps the distinction remains significant with respect to the eyes and ears alone. For this reason, it seems worthwhile to question how much of a distinction exists between content that is on the screen as opposed to the same content appearing in the same physical realm as the

Authors: Shinozawa, Kazuhiko., Reeves, Byron., Wise, Kevin., Lim, Sohye., Maldonado, Heidy. and Naya, Futoshi.
first   previous   Page 2 of 15   next   last



background image
2
INTRODUCTION
Social scientists love to classify things, and media technologies are no exception.
McLuhan’s (1964) famous classification of media as “hot” or “cold” varied across the
dimensions of definition and participation but applied, for example, to all of television or
all reading. How should classifications handle media enabled by computers? A
computer can serve as a movie theater, radio, telephone, and printing press
simultaneously.
This study is about media characters that can be either represented on a screen
(e.g., familiar television portrayals or intelligent computer agents) or actual physical
objects (e.g., robots) that exist in the same environment with users. How should these
robots fit among classifications of communication technologies?
One way of answering this question is to compare robots with other media. While
experiencing traditional media like a movie, for example, someone might say that an
action movie kept him or her “on the seat of my pants,” or that a romance was an
“emotional rollercoaster.” The feeling of “being there” has been an important concept for
communication researchers as well, since it most certainly contributes to the social,
cognitive, and emotional effects of media that our field seeks to address. When
characters and their interactions leave the screen and enter the physical world of the
audience, is the sense of “being there” heightened?
Steuer (1992) used the concept of tele-presence to define “the experience of
presence in an environment by means of a communication medium.” While the focus of
Steuer’s discussion was specifically geared towards the virtual reality technology of the
early 90’s, it serves as a useful starting point for conceptually thinking about the role of
robots as a mediated communication experience.

According to Steuer, there are two sets of variables that influence tele-presence.
The first, vividness, refers to the sensorial richness of a particular mediated environment.
We can look at robots in a couple of different ways along this dimension. Aesthetically
speaking, today’s robots are primitive when judged alongside the computer-generated
graphics and special effects that make up any large-budget movie. They are still bulky,
stiff, noisy, and fragile.

On the other hand, a robot is able to move beyond the confinement of a two-
dimensional screen and inhabit the same physical realm that viewers inhabit. From a
viewer’s perspective, this ability would seem to be a radical departure from the vividness
of the television or movie screen. Imagine the difference between watching a music
video and sitting in the front row of a Rolling Stones concert or seeing a televised
rendition of Romeo and Juliet on PBS as opposed to a live performance by the Royal
Shakespearean Theater Company. Granted, live performances have the capability to
engage senses beyond the scope of television or the movies, but perhaps the distinction
remains significant with respect to the eyes and ears alone. For this reason, it seems
worthwhile to question how much of a distinction exists between content that is on the
screen as opposed to the same content appearing in the same physical realm as the


Convention
Need a solution for abstract management? All Academic can help! Contact us today to find out how our system can help your annual meeting.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 2 of 15   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.