Academic Articles / Publications

What to expect when you’re expecting robots: Futures, expectations, and pseudo-artificial general intelligence in UK news

Authors: J Scott Brennen, Philip N Howard, Rasmus K Nielsen

Abstract

Drawing on scholarship in journalism studies and the sociology of expectations, this article demonstrates how news media shape, mediate, and amplify expectations surrounding artificial intelligence in ways that influence their potential to intervene in the world. Through a critical discourse analysis of news content, this article describes and interrogates the persistent expectation concerning the widescale social integration of AI-related approaches and technologies. In doing so, it identifies two techniques through which news outlets mediate future-oriented expectations surrounding AI: choosing sources and offering comparisons. Finally, it demonstrates how in employing these techniques, outlets construct the expectation of a pseudo-artificial general intelligence: a collective of technologies capable of solving nearly any problem.

Brennen, J. Scott, et al. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Robots: Futures, Expectations, and Pseudo-Artificial General Intelligence in UK News.” Journalism, Aug. 2020, doi:10.1177/1464884920947535.

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