Social Robotic Experience and Media Communication Practices: An Exploration on the Emotional and Ritualized Human-technology-relations

Christine Linke, Independent Researcher

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This article approaches the subject of social robots by focusing on the emotional relations people establish with media and information and communication technology (ICTs) in their everyday life. It examines human-technology-relation from a social studies point of view, seeking to raise questions that enable us to make a connection between the research on human relationships and the topic of human-technology relation, especially human-humanoid-relation. In order to explore the human-technology-relations, theoretical ideas of a mediatization of communication and of a ritual interaction order are applied. Ritual theory is particularly used to enable a focus on emotion as a significant dimension in analyzing social technologies. This explorative article refers to empirical findings regarding media communication practices in close relationships. It argues that following the developed approach regarding mediatized and ritualized relational practices, useful insights for a conceptualization of the human-social robot relation can be achieved. The article concludes with remarks regarding the challenge of an empirical approach to human-social robot-relations.