Global Survey Finds Audiences Suspicious of Newsrooms Using AI

A recently published report has highlighted concerns on the increased use of artificial intelligence in misinformation and the production of news. The report was published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and provides a picture of the challenges newsrooms are already facing as they work to engage more individuals worldwide.

Globally, generative artificial intelligence is helping tech giants and start-ups such as Google and OpenAI develop tools that can divert traffic from news sites and provide short summaries of information. While this works against newsrooms and would suggest that consumers are in favor of AI use, the report determined that many were, in fact, suspicious of artificial intelligence’s use in generating news content, especially for sensitive topics.

According to the survey, 63% and 52% of respondents from the United Kingdom and the United States respectively stated that they would be uncomfortable with news produced primarily by artificial intelligence. The report also highlighted that most respondents were more comfortable with artificial intelligence being used in the background to make the work journalists did more efficient.

The lead author of the report, Nic Newman, stated that the researchers were surprised by the suspicion levels they observed. Newman, who is also a senior research associate at the institute, added that individuals’ fears mainly centered on what could happen to trust and reliability of journalistic content.

The study also reported that 59% of U.K. respondents admitted to being worried about the increase in false content online, with the report noting that this figure was even higher in the United States and South Africa, at 72% and 81% respectively.

Another problem mainstream media is grappling with is audiences’ unwillingness to pay for online news. The report determined that only 17% of those who took part in the survey across 20 nations paid for news subscriptions. This figure, which increased slightly during the pandemic, has remained stagnant these last three years.

The report also found that a considerable proportion of those who subscribed to news in America were likely to be paying discounted amounts because of promotions or trials, with more than 45% of them paying less than the full rate for their subscriptions. It doesn’t help that these days, news influencers play a significant role in delivering news to individuals on well-known platforms such as TikTok, in comparison to mainstream media.

In a poll involving nearly 6,000 TikTok users who revealed that they used the app to get news, 57% of them admitted to following individual personalities rather than news brands or journalists.

Entities that have interests in AI and the dissemination of news, such as Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG), need to think critically about the findings of this report and identify ways to win the confidence of people around the world because it appears AI-generated news isn’t inspiring trust.

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