Raising Robotic Natives?: Persuasive Potentials of Social Robots in Early Education

Recently, social robots are increasingly tested within educational settings as tools to learn about, media to learn through, or social actors to learn from and with. While robots are marketed as making learning more effective, their use raises concerns with respect to the target group’s age, knowledge, and dependency on others. Therefore, this article aims at exploring ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of applying robots in early education. Referring to Fogg’s framework of computers as persuasive technologies (captology), we will derive possible challenges connected to the different roles a robot can take on within learning settings. By reviewing literature from human-robot interaction, ethics, technology assessment, and Science and Technology Studies, we will conclude that applying robots in early education should not mean letting children be taught by them but rather utilizing these technologies to teach about and through them.

In a Mediated Age: Covering Migration, Cultivating Expectations

This article, focusing on significant recent and current migration events, begins with the wide acknowledgement that mass media, especially news media, are the dominant sources from which individuals and groups construct their social realities. Further, print or broadcast reports, along with accompanying images that provide immediacy, relevance, and authenticity for the verbal messages, encourage particular interpretations through agenda setting, framing, and thematic narratives. The consistent, persistent, and corroborative character of media coverage of specific events, issues, or populations weighs heavily in this regard. Host-country expectations are typically formed as migrants approach a destination, or concurrently with their arrival, influencing reception and contextualizing perceptions of initial and ongoing encounters with migrants. The techniques and character of the agenda-setting, framing, and thematic narration as well as their impact on public opinion are explored. Additionally, journalistic self-assessment of migration coverage is explored.

For or Against War?: The Syrian Conflict on the New York Times Opinion Pages

This article compares the representation of the Syrian conflict on the opinion pages of the “New York Times” during two periods: the two months covering the beginning of the protests (March–April 2011) and the two months after the expansion of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in July–August 2014. The Syrian conflict is the most reported upon in history and has been the subject of extensive debate in American media. Drawing on the idea of news framing, the article suggests that the “Times” reproduced narratives that converged with the policies undertaken by the Obama administration. Although the newspaper framed the conflict in its outset as a democratic uprising, the emergence of ISIS caused a discursive shift that saw the terrorist group as the center of attention. The article argues that the conversation on the “New York Times” opinion pages during the two periods was embedded in contradictions that hindered a more consistent comprehension of this complex and divisive event.