As artificial intelligence (AI) integrates seamlessly into our daily lives, sparking debates across society, researchers at Virginia Tech explore the nuances of public sentiment. Published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the research titled “Partisan Media Sentiment Toward Artificial Intelligence” dissects how AI is portrayed in media with varying political leanings. The study, led by Angela Yi, Shreyans Goenka, and Mario Pandelaere from the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business, unveils that liberal-leaning media expresses more skepticism towards AI compared to conservative counterparts. Their investigation, spanning liberal outlets like The New York Times to conservative ones like The Wall Street Journal, reveals a heightened negativity in liberal media following George Floyd’s death, emphasizing concerns about AI exacerbating societal biases.
In light of their discoveries, Goenka and Yi stress the potential impact on future political discourse around AI. Media sentiment, acting as a precursor to public opinion, may influence policymakers’ decisions, leading to divergent viewpoints on AI. The researchers propose examining how social media discussions evolve based on these partisan differences, recognizing media sentiment’s pivotal role in shaping perceptions. The study, focused on descriptive insights rather than prescribing a stance, underlines the importance of understanding and quantifying these media sentiment variations in the ongoing discourse on artificial intelligence.