Exploring Pragmatics with AI: An Intercultural Communication Perspective

30 May 2024
Room G1

Exploring Pragmatics with AI: An Intercultural Communication Perspective

As artificial intelligence is increasingly integrated into our daily lives, understanding the nuances of human-AI communication is an interesting area of study given the ability of these assistants to mimic the language and social interactions of humans. While conversations between two parties are generally considered dynamic exchanges in a language conveying cultural experiences and a worldview, when a person is interacting with an AI assistant there is a clear asymmetry to the interaction. AI assistants (at the moment) cannot truly be expected to have a worldview or an awareness of the context surrounding the conversation, and as such, the pragmatic aspects of the exchange suffer even though the semantic and grammatical choices of the language being produced by the AI might be impeccable. While the human and the AI may be communicating in a single language, I suggest that the human counterpart is not actually an L1 speaker of the AIs language – the two parties are actually having an intercultural conversation.

This talk will examine a series of interactions between people and AI assistants such as Alexa, Siri and Chat GPT. Analysing a hand selected set of exchanges brings to light differences between expectations in human -human conversations compared to human-AI interactions especially related to the Gricean principle of cooperation.



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