AI: People fear humanity’s extinction, media see an opportunity

Media present artificial intelligence and its possibilities as an opportunity, people usually express their doubts, considering it a threat and sometimes even an entity plotting with aliens to destroy our civilisation. Have a look at our analysis focusing on AI and technological innovations in Czech media.

We analysed more than one thousand mentions about artificial intelligence in social and mainstream media appearing in the last year. Even though only 1 % of AI mentions in mainstream media was negative, people on social media feared it or criticized it in about 30 % of the mentions.

„The influence of pop-culture if undeniable – people fear enslavement of the human race by robots, some even mention a conspiracy between AI and aliens that is supposed to lead to the extinction of humankind,“ explains one of the analysts Tomáš Kůst.

Media, on the other hand, consider the topic of innovations and artificial intelligence very attractive. An unnamed Czech daily newspaper had it on the cover every third day. We used AI while conducting our analysis, you can have a look at here.

Positive in Mainstream Media, Negative on Social Media

One of the conclusions of our analysis is that mainstream media reported about AI in a rather positive or neutral way, explicitly negative articles put together only about 1 % of all mentions. The trend on social media was different. About a third of all the posts mentioning AI was negative, connected mainly with uncertainty when it comes to the future.

An Opportunity or a Threat

Our analysis focused even on topics AI is usually discussed with. A negative or even alarming tone appeared in fields connected to the army, weapons, governments and administrations. Opposite opinion about artificial intelligence appeared mostly in connection with industry, transport or healthcare. An important factor, which deserves to be highlighted, is the fact, that mainstream media reported mainly about latest technological advancements and the most popular technological events. The negative tone was observed in reactions to these articles when people did not comment on the news itself, but rather on the catastrophic consequences if technological inventions.

Present or Future?

Mainstream media presented AI in 75 % of all the mentions as a part of today’s world. The rest of the articles was focused on the future and progress we can expect in the upcoming years. In more than half of the mentions, there were examples of new technologies already used in everyday life such as corobots assisting in car factories or the use of AI in robotic surgery. Articles reporting about present were more positive than articles focusing on the future in most of the cases. These negative mentions were influenced by an uncertainty connected with robotization and labour market. This attitude partially reflected in communication on social media, where people debated about the possibility of losing their jobs because of a machine replacing them.

The analysed topics were often connected to well-renowned companies or institutions, such as Mobile Industrial Robots, KUKA, Kawasaki Heavy Industries or ABB in mainstream media and Google, Intel, Nvidia, Huawei, Škoda Auto, Česká televize or ČVUT on social media.

Want to Know More?

Conclusions of our analysis, innovations and AI will also be topics of the upcoming international AMEC Global Summit in taking place between 21st to 23rd of May in Prague. The event is an annual meeting of experts in media and marketing communication and Newton Media is the headline partner this year.

“Use of AI is nowadays absolutely common in many industries, but when it comes to the media industry, it is rather in the role of Cinderella. That is what we want to discuss during AMEX Summit,” says Petr Herian, global CEO of Newton Media.

Basic information about the analysis

  • Analysed period: 1. 3. 2018 – 28. 2. 2019
  • Analysed mainstream media: TV, radio, print and online sources in the Czech Republic
  • Analysed social media: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, online forums etc.
  • Analysed topics: artificial intelligence, robotization, digitalisation, Industry 4.0, machine learning

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