Audiences suspicious of AI being used to create news, survey shows

News consumers most opposed to use of AI for sensitive topics such as politics, report finds.

AI is increasingly shaping how media outlets produce news [Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP]Published On 17 Jun 202417 Jun 2024

Most news consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom would be uncomfortable with journalism produced mainly by artificial intelligence (AI), a survey has found.

Only 23 percent of respondents in the US and 10 percent in the UK would be comfortable with AI-produced news, with consumers especially suspicious of the technology being used for sensitive topics such as politics and crime, the survey by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism showed on Monday.

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Just over half of US respondents and 63 percent UK respondents said they would be uncomfortable with AI-led news, respectively, with 18 percent answering they would be neither comfortable nor uncomfortable.

Respondents were least resistant towards using AI to generate text-based content, illustrations and stylised graphics, and most strongly opposed to the use of AI for creating realistic-looking photographs and video.

“Our findings show audiences are most open to AI uses that are behind the scenes and areas where AI can help improve their experiences using news, providing more personalised and accessible information,” the institute said in its annual Digital News Report accompanying the survey.

“They are less comfortable when it comes to public-facing content, sensitive or important topics, and synthetic videos or images that may come across as real, and where the consequences of error are viewed as most consequential. Overall, there is consensus that a human should always be in the loop and complete automation should be off limits.”

The findings come as newsrooms around the world are adopting AI amid plunging revenues and heavy job cuts.

Numerous news outlets globally have implemented AI tools for tasks ranging from research to transcribing interviews and content creation.

News Corp Australia’s executive chair Michael Miller last year revealed that the media company was producing about 3,000 articles a week using AI.

As it announced a 100 million euro cost-cutting programme last year, German tabloid Bild warned staff that it expected to make further cuts due to “the opportunities of artificial intelligence”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies