In a world where artificial intelligence is the talk of the town, it seems the left-wing and right-wing media are having a bit of a face-off when it comes to AI stories. The politics of AI are coming to a head.
A recent study by boffins at Virginia Tech delved into the media sentiments surrounding our AI companions. The results? Left-leaning media is giving AI the side-eye more than their right-leaning counterparts.
The researchers from Virginia Tech make the case that the political ideology flavouring your news can determine whether you’ll be cheering on the AI revolution or be a little bit suspicious of the whole deal.
Left-leaning media, it turns out, is not entirely vibing with our future robot overlords as much as the right-leaning media is.
Why are left media a bit more sus?
According to the study, the left-leaning media look at the world through the lens of race, gender, and income disparities. And they are worried about disparities surfacing in AI tools.
One of the researchers, Angela Yi, says, “This, in turn, resulted in the media becoming even more negative towards AI in their storytelling.”
The right-leaning media were less inclined to look at the world through these social filters.
For example, one article from a right-leaning media outlet stated, “Generative artificial intelligence algorithms like ChatGPT pose substantial dangers but also offer enormous benefits for education, businesses, and people’s ability to efficiently produce vast amounts of information, according to AI experts.”
The politics of AI: The side effects
Yi says, “Media sentiment is a powerful driver of public opinion, and oftentimes policymakers look toward the media to predict public sentiment on contentious issues.
“Perhaps the next step in our research is to see how social media conversations surrounding AI change as a function of the partisan differences we see in our paper.”
To gather the data in the study, the researchers compiled a stash of 7,500 articles from both left-leaning and right-leaning outlets.
In this hitlist was the left-leaning New York Times and Washington Post, and right-leaning Wall Street Journal and New York Post.
Yi concludes, “We are not stating whether the liberal media is acting optimally, or the conservative media is acting optimally. We are just showing that these differences exist in the media sentiment and that these differences are important to quantify, see, and understand.”