Emma, one of our chatbots

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies are reshaping our communication environment in an extremely fast pace. These changes encompass not only drastic changes to the media landscape, but especially to the partners with whom we communicate. More than a medium for human-to-human communication, computers and online environments now allow humans to communicate with machines, i.e., conversational agents in the shape of chatbots, socialbots, and virtual assistants.

Given the growing levels of sophistication and adoption of these agents, the Digital Communication Lab focuses on innovative research with (disembodied) conversational agents, including the content, causes and consequences of interactions with AI in the shape of conversational agents across different areas of communication. Methodologically, the lab also explores the potential of actual conversational agents as data collection tools.

Current research encompasses a set of experimental studies with actual conversational agents (chatbots) developed specifically for each study. These studies cover, among other topics, the antecedents and consequences of anthropomorphism and social presence perceptions about these agents in perceptions about the agent, the content of the conversation, and the organisation responsible for the agent.

Presentations and Publications:

  • Araujo, T. (2017). Human-like, or just competent? Understanding the importance of chatbot perceptions in service encounters. Presented at Conversations 2017 – 4th International Conference on Internet Science, Thessaloniki, Greece.