Only minority accepts AI in news production

Only minority accepts AI in news production

Thu, Nov 2nd 2023

The Swiss population is critical of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in news production. That’s according to a representative survey conducted by the University of Zurich’s Research Center Public and Society (FÖG).

(Source: Keystone/SDA)

As the FÖG announced on Monday at the presentation of its latest yearbook on the quality of Swiss media, only 29 percent of the Swiss population would read articles generated entirely by AI. That’s according to responses from 1254 people from German- and French-speaking Switzerland who took part in the FÖG survey this July.

By contrast, for texts written by media professionals without the use of AI, the readiness rate is 84 percent. “For the audience, the role of journalists in reporting is still central,” FÖG research director Daniel Vogler summed up at the presentation of the study in Zurich.

Acceptance depends on the topic

The survey also shows that the acceptance of AI in the media depends on the topic: In the case of news about the weather, sports and stock market prices or well-known people, respondents are more likely to imagine reading AI-generated articles. By contrast, acceptance is significantly lower for news on politics, business, science or culture.

Another finding: only around ten percent of respondents would be willing to pay for media articles written entirely with AI. Also, a clear majority of respondents want media entrepreneurs to be compensated by AI providers when text robots such as ChatGPT access journalistic content.

FÖG recommends that Swiss media declare when they use AI. “This is the only way journalism can distinguish itself from the growing number of dubious offers,” director Mark Eisenegger said, according to the statement. The survey showed that more than 80 percent of respondents want AI-generated media content declared accordingly.

More and more “news deprived”

In its annual yearbook, FÖG also writes that the number of so-called news-deprived people in Switzerland has continued to grow. It now reaches 43 percent of the population. This refers to people who hardly ever read, listen to or watch news.

On the other hand, the FÖG also notes that the quality of reporting by the Swiss media has reached a new high since 2015. The Corona pandemic and the Ukraine war contributed to this, according to the center.

In the current yearbook, the media researchers specifically examined the quality of news posts on social media such as TikTok and Instagram. The conclusion was that the Swiss media publish more classified articles on these platforms than on their news platforms. This is also positive, Linards Udris of FÖG told the media.

In order to prevent the number of news deprived people from increasing, journalism should be practiced that also includes positive news. The research center recommends not only describing problems, but also pointing out possible solutions.


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