One popular topic which has been covered by most media houses over the last few years is artificial intelligence (AI). From being deemed a panacea for all problems, to being labelled as an apocalyptic force, AI is discussed in media circles on a massive scale across the world.
Artificial intelligence is a word that is loosely defined in the mainstream media. Most media houses broadly cover AI as a roundup of ideas, technologies, and systems that relate to the field of artificial intelligence. Mainstream media houses, nevertheless, have a tremendous influence on public viewpoint. As a result, the coverage on AI is critical to understand how people at large are forming their understanding of the technology.
Most AI-Based Coverage Is Focused On Business Products
AI business products and tech projects make much of the coverage of AI on a general basis. Many articles follow business dealings or AI-related initiatives of large technology companies. The coverage of AI product launches is mostly derived from press releases or announcements.
A Reuters research demonstrated that 60% of AI-based articles were focused on new industry products, announcements and initiatives that included AI. AI products were mostly depicted as a solution to a range of problems.
You can find extensive coverage on new startups and existing companies launching solutions which integrate AI into a wide range of products – all the way from self-driving cars, to healthcare services, and social media. This means that companies are using AI news as a way to market their tech products.
How Media Fuels AI Fears
Articles in the media continuously swing from one extreme to another. In other words, they describe AI as a boon, and sometimes as a bane, all in a cyclical fashion throughout the year.
There are multiple stories connected with AI-related fears. Very often, these stories are moderately sensational and maybe anchored around subjects like automation taking away jobs and dystopian tales of robot uprisings.
Frequently, many articles discuss how automation will lead to mass unemployment. Very rarely do mainstream media outlets praise automation in the context of our future, even though most experts agree that AI will also create jobs in the future as well.
Oftentimes, articles are written in a manner that show AI as general artificial intelligence. This system is capable of replicating the whole spectrum of human intelligence in some distant future, edging towards how the technology will take over human civilisation.
Articles On Ethical Issues Around AI
Most media houses share the view that AI systems preserve discrimination; that is, they talk about notable biases.
Many have written numerous stories on how AI can perpetuate when it comes to gender, race and colour. In such articles, a journalist can cite research reports and analyse the impact of AI on society at large to bring up ethical concerns.
Indeed, ethical issues related to AI is one area where mainstream media spends a lot of time and effort. Another issue closely tied to this is data privacy, and other topics like deepfakes, automation, autonomous systems, robots, and facial recognition, among others.
Coverage On The Global AI Race
AI is also the centre of global wars in the media, where it is constantly written about how countries are battling to acquire better AI technology prowess. The politicized coverage of AI has existed for many years now. AI funding related to military budgets and R&D is another topic which is constantly tracked by media outlets as it can provide eye-catching storylines.
There are also a small set of media articles which cover important progressions in the area of artificial intelligence. Such media coverage is centred on the latest technical developments. Technical advancements may be a consequence of improved computational processing capacity, new algorithms, and the availability of big data sets that can help train AI systems.
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Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.