Dr. Marie-Theres Fester-Seeger
My name is Marie-Theres Fester-Seeger. I received my PhD degree at the University of Southern Denmark (Department of Language and Communication) in July 2021. Thanks to my PNB fellowship, I am currently working at the Faculty of Cultural and Social Sciences, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Chair of Language Use and Migration. My research project benefits greatly from the expertise and engagement of Prof. Dr. Britta Schneider at the European University Viadrina.
Applying distributed, embodied and ecological approaches to language and cognition, I investigate the greater question of ‘how do people ‘talk’ to machines?’ In this research project, I use cognitive ethnographic methods to explore people’s engagement with smart speakers (such as Alexa and Google home) in their home environment. With my great research interests in human lived experience, I propose to rethink digital technology as part of a ‘coming together’ of human influences. Seeing cognition and language as human activity, I study how people think with and through machines and, in addition, how human-machine engagement changes a person.
Thanks to the PNB fellowship, I received the great possibility of combining my theoretical background with new insights and knowledge from the field of artificial intelligence. In addition, on a more personal level, the network allowed me to continue with my research in my home environment (Brandenburg). The fellowship also enables me to develop new ideas for further funding opportunities for an even more profound research project on the use of smart speakers. For now, I intend to stay in research.