New handbook chapter: The interdisciplinarity of HMC: Rethinking communication, media, and agency

Network members Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp and Prof. Dr. Wiebke Loosen published the article “The interdisciplinarity of HMC: Rethinking communication, media, and agency” in the SAGE Handbook of Human-Machine Communication. 

The article covers the following topics:

This chapter describes the study of human-machine-communication (HMC) as inherently interdisciplinary. This interdisciplinarity is significant in several ways: When considering interdisciplinarity’s scope, there exist narrow forms of correspondence with neighboring disciplines in media and communication studies as do broader connections with more diverse disciplines such as computer science. In regard to the types of interdisciplinarity, it must be taken into account that HMC already represents an interdisciplinary phenomenon for whose investigation the methodological and theoretical integration of approaches from different disciplines persists. When it comes to the goals of interdisciplinarity, HMC aims both at fundamental research (the so- called “epistemological orientation” of interdisciplinarity) and the application of this research, such as the development of “socio-compatible” communicative AI and communicative robots (the so-called “instrumental orientation” of interdisciplinarity). HMC’s requirement for cross-compatible approaches becomes most apparent when one keeps in mind that communicative AI and communicative robots challenge the three crucial foundational concepts of media and communication studies: communication, media, and agency. It is only through an interdisciplinary approach that the possibility of rethinking these concepts is solidified in the building of purposeful foundations for empirical research.

To the article


New article: The lab, the space and the meetup: locating technological experimentation in everyday lifeNew article:

The article by Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp was published on 20 June in the Journal of Science Communication and is entitled: “The lab, the space and the meetup: locating technological experimentation in everyday life”

The article analyzes the role digital pioneer communities play in the localization of everyday technological experimentation based on three sites of practice: the lab, the space, and the meetup. Taking a historical view, it begins with a reconstruction of Stewart Brand’s popularization of the lab discourse. On this basis, the space in the Maker movement as well as the meetup in the Quantified Self and Hacks/Hackers movements is investigated, finally arriving at a reflection on the dynamics that come and go between them. While the article is primarily a conceptual contribution, its arguments are grounded in an extensive media ethnography.

To the article

Call for Special Issue on “Mediatization and Human-Machine Communication”

Special Issue: “Mediatization and Human-Machine Communication”


  • Göran Bolin (Södertörn University)
  • Andreas Hepp (ZeMKI, University of Bremen)
  • Wiebke Loosen (Leibniz Institute for Media Research)


Mediatization research has long been concerned with the interrelationship between the transformation of media and communication on the one hand, and culture and society on the other (Bolin & Hepp 2017; Couldry & Hepp 2013; Ekström et al. 2016; Hjarvard 2013; Krotz 2009). With the spread of “communicative AI” (Guzman & Lewis 2020) – understood as AI-based systems whose function is to communicate with humans (Esposito 2022) – we are currently experiencing the beginning of yet one more change to our media environment. The foundations of this change can be seen in the emergence of “social bots” (Gehl & Bakardjieva 2016) on various platforms, the spread of “artificial companions” such as Apple Siri or Amazon’s Alexa (Thorne 2020), the algorithmic response suggestions (Hancock et al. 2020), or the “work bots” (Hepp 2020) that produce automated journalism (Diakopoulos 2019; Loosen 2018). A further technical boost to all this is the recent development of ChatGPT and GPT-3.5. The increasing success of machine learning and other AI technologies suggests that this is merely the first step toward the automation of communication (Gunkel 2020; Taipale & Fortunati 2018).

Against this background, it seems obvious that research into mediatization and human-machine communication enters into a dialogue that, in the best case, mutually enriches empirical research and the theoretical discussion, helping us to better understand the current changes to media and communication and their consequences. This Special Issue aims to create a starting point for just such a dialogue. The objective is to discuss the following questions based on empirical studies and theoretical considerations:

  • To what extent do current phenomena of automated communication represent mediatization re-asserting itself? 
  • How can approaches to and theories of HMC and mediatization research mutually relate to and enrich one other?
  • What will be the consequences to theorizing media and empirical research?

For more information or questions, please contact Andreas Hepp (

Keywords: Human-Machine Communication, Mediatization, communicative AI, 

Deadline: Submissions are due March 15th, 2023, and the publication will be in September, 2023. All manuscripts should be submitted via the journal’s online submission system ( with the remark, “Special Issue” in the cover letter. In the online submission system, there will be a drop-down menu under Document Type. Please choose “Special Issue Submission.” For formatting and length specifications, please see the journal’s Instructions for Authors


Bolin, G., & Hepp, A. (2017). The complexities of mediatization: Charting the road ahead. In O. Driessens, G. Bolin, A. Hepp, & S. Hjarvard (Eds.), Dynamics of mediatization (pp. 315-331). London: Palgrave. 

Couldry, N., & Hepp, A. (2013). Conceptualising mediatization: Contexts, traditions, arguments. Communication Theory23(3), 191-202. 

Diakopoulos, N. (2019). Automating the news. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 

Ekström, M., Fornäs, J., Jansson, A., & Jerslev, A. (2016). Three tasks for mediatization research: contributions to an open agenda. Media, Culture & Society38(7), 1090-1108.

Esposito, E. (2022). Artificial communication. Cambridge: MIT. 

Gehl, R. W., & Bakardjieva, M. (Eds.). (2016). Socialbots and their friends: Digital media and the automation of sociality. London: Routledge.

Gunkel, D. J. (2020). An introduction to communication and artificial intelligence. Cambridge: Polity. 

Guzman, A. L., & Lewis, S. C. (2020). Artificial intelligence and communication: A Human-Machine Communication research agenda. New Media & Society22(1), 70-86. 

Hancock, J. T., Naaman, M., & Levy, K. (2020). AI-Mediated communication: Definition, research agenda, and ethical considerations. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication25(1), 89-100. 

Hepp, A. (2020). Deep mediatization. London: Routledge. 

Hjarvard, S. (2013). The mediatization of culture and society. London: Routledge. 

Krotz, F. (2009). Mediatization: A concept with which to grasp media and societal change. In K. Lundby (Ed.), Mediatization: Concept, changes, consequences (pp. 19-38). New York: Peter Lang. 

Loosen, W. (2018). Four forms of datafied journalism. Journalism’s response to the datafication of society. Communicative figurations working paper18, 1-10. 

Taipale, S., & Fortunati, L. (2018). Communicating with machines: Robots as the next new media. In A. L. Guzman (Ed.), Human-machine communication (pp. 201-220). New York: Peter Lang. 

Thorne, S. (2020). Hey Siri, tell me a story: Digital storytelling and AI authorship. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, doi:10.1177/1354856520913866