A Conceptual Framework for Researching Emergent Social Orderi ...

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  • Title: A Conceptual Framework for Researching Emergent Social Orderings in Encounters with Automated Computer-Telephone Interviewing Ag
  • Author(s): Nils Klowait
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies
  • Keywords: Human-Computer Interaction, Institutional Talk, Conversation Analysis, Uncanny Valley, Anthropomorphism
  • Volume: 15
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2327-7882 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8617 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7882/CGP/v15i01/19-37
  • Citation: Klowait, Nils. 2017. "A Conceptual Framework for Researching Emergent Social Orderings in Encounters with Automated Computer-Telephone Interviewing Ag." The International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies 15 (1): 19-37. doi:10.18848/2327-7882/CGP/v15i01/19-37.
  • Extent: 19 pages

Abstract

The following study conceptualizes and evaluates a phone-based, natural-language-employing Automated Computer-Telephone Interviewing system. It will be argued that the conversational agent, by virtue of its technical limitations, is situated squarely within the interactional “uncanny valley,” precisely because it exhibits a rudimentary interactivity and can thereby mimic human agency. Its inability to be fully humanlike therefore becomes a peculiar interactive feature. The system is shown to take on the role of a highly restrictive interrogator rather than a regular interviewer, generating “institutional talk.” This is shown to be particularly true when users fail to recognize the system as nonhuman. The findings problematize the overall methodological robustness of state-of-the-art automated surveying agents, as such systems may unwittingly introduce response biases to a supposedly impersonal surveying method. Conceptually, the article will be grounded in Suchman’s “situated action” paradigm of human-computer interaction, as well as Heritage’s “institutional talk” within conversation analysis. This article will attempt to construct a theoretical scheme that will allow for a social study of the ACTI-based interaction. The findings are based on an analysis of 175 audio recordings of an automated survey on voting preferences during the 2013 Moscow Oblast gubernatorial elections.