As research fields, mediatization and Human-Machine Communication (HMC) have distinct historical trajectories. While mediatization research is concerned with the fundamental interrelation between the transformation of media and communications and cultural and societal changes, the much younger field of HMC delves into human meaning-making in interactions with machines. However, the recent wave of “deep mediatization,” characterized by an increasing emphasis on general communicative automation and the rise of communicative AI, highlights a shared interest in technology’s role within human interaction. This introductory article examines the trajectories of both fields, demonstrating how mediatization research “zooms out” from overarching questions of societal and cultural transformations, while HMC tends to “zoom in” to approach the concrete situatedness of the interaction between humans and machines. It is argued that we need to combine both perspectives to better understand how the automation of communication transforms the social construction of culture and society. This article offers an overview of the key themes explored in this thematic issue, highlighting the productive intersection of HMC and mediatization within each article. Additionally, it identifies potential avenues for future research emerging from this fruitful intersection.



Author ORCID Identifier

Andreas Hepp: 0000-0001-7292-4147

Göran Bolin: 0000-0003-0216-8862

Andrea L. Guzman: 0000-0002-6874-9435

Wiebke Loosen: 0000-0002-2211-2260