Abstract: Social robots—robots that are made for interaction with humans—are becoming increasingly popular. In contrast to other disciplines, however, communication research has been slow in studying them. In our view, there are at least three theoretical reasons for communication researchers to deal with social robots. First, social robots challenge our notions of medium and media. Second, social robots challenge our understanding of the communication partner. Finally, social robots challenge our notions of the boundaries of communication. We therefore believe that social robots should play a more central role in communication research than it is currently the case.
Keywords: artificial intelligence; communication science; human-machine interaction; human-robot interaction; social robots