Substance, discourse, and practice: a review of communication research on automation

Joshua B. Barbour, Jared T. Jensen, Shelbey R. Call, Nandini Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Echoing past waves of transformation, the public sphere is awash with anxiety about automation now driven by the rise of intelligent machines. Emerging technologies encompass a wider and wider range of work, and the disruptions that will accompany the transformation of work involve pressing problems for research and practice. Communication scholarship is distinctively well equipped for the study of automation today because communication itself is increasingly the focus of automation, because the automation of work is a communication process, and because deliberations about automation will shape how we manage those disruptions. This article reviews scholarship in communication that focuses on automation, highlighting research that focuses on communication as the substance of automation, discourse about automation, and communicative practice of automation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-291
Number of pages31
JournalAnnals of the International Communication Association
Issue number3
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • artificial intelligence
  • Automation
  • discourse
  • future
  • practice
  • work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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