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An Industry-Led Debate: How UK Media Cover Artificial Intelligence

DOI: 10.60625/risj-v219-d676

In this factsheet we analyse eight months of reporting on artificial intelligence (AI) in six mainstream news outlets in the United Kingdom to understand how AI is emerging as a public issue. Our mixed-methods analysis reveals that a majority of articles are pegged to industry concerns, and a plurality of sources originate from industry. Coverage frequently amplifies self-interested assertions of AI’s value and potential, while positioning AI primarily as a private commercial concern and undercutting the role of public action in addressing AI.

Portraying AI as a relevant and competent solution to a range of public problems, outlets also regularly assert the influence it will have across areas of public life often with little acknowledgement of ongoing debates concerning AI’s potential effects. Finally, AI is being politicised through the topics that outlets emphasise: right-leaning outlets highlight issues of economics and geopolitics and left-leaning outlets highlight issues of ethics and discrimination.

Published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism as part of the Oxford Martin Programme on Misinformation, Science and Media, a three-year research collaboration between the Reuters Institute, the Oxford Internet Institute, and the Oxford Martin School.

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