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Love bytes and intimate machines: Analysing news media representations of human- robot interactions

Research on human-robot interactions (HRI) has surged in recent years with a number of studies debating the social, ethical, psychological and philosophical implications of intimate robotic companions in the form of sex robots. Despite increasing scholarly interest in these relationships, how news media represent HRI is little analysed (Correa et.al. 2016). Applying the concept of the ‘technological imaginary’ (Cranny-Francis 2013) to a qualitative content analysis of news articles published between 2007 and 2018, this study identifies the images, metaphors and narratives used in news media coverage of sex robots. The results indicate a growing concern about the future of human intimacy and key perspectives from sex robot enthusiasts were absent or marginalized in the news content sampled. Given the mounting evidence that metaphors used to describe robots impact the regulation of robotic technology (Darling 2015; Richards and Smart 2016), there is a greater need to understand how science journalism reports on issues of technology and intimacy and its potential to shape social attitudes and ethico-legal frameworks.

Speaker: Belinda Middleweek, Univ. of Technology, Sydney, Australia

Friday, 09/14/18

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Moffitt Undergraduate Library

UC Bekeley
Room 340
Berkeley, CA 94720

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