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Report: UK audiences are ‘nervous’ about GenAI in the media

The report uncovered several critical insights into what people feel about the use of AI in the media

The BBC has published a report looking into audience perceptions and expectations of the use of Generative AI (GenAI) in the media.

Recognising the transformative potential of GenAI, the corporation said the report is intended to provide insights that “would be helpful for all media organisations to continue a broad-based and open discussion on Gen AI,” adding that it was vital to gain an understanding of how audiences feel about some of the complex issues the technology raises.

The study asked for participants’ thoughts, reactions and feelings towards GenAI being used in news, audio and video content, and uncovered several critical insights.

  • Many believe GenAI to be a “permanent, significant and disruptive step-change” in the media, with 58 per cent of UK adults stating that products using AI will bring profound change to daily life.
  • There is nervousness over how GenAI might be used in the media. Audiences would like reassurance from media companies.  As many as 65 per cent of UK adults said products and services using AI make them nervous.
  • Minds have already been made up over levels of comfort with the use of GenAI in the media:
  1. There is some openness to the use of GenAI in audio content. Many said they would be comfortable with GenAI in improving personalisation, or with producers using it to generate ideas and inspiration.
  2. People are less relaxed about GenAI in video. While, again, audiences are somewhat comfortable with a level of personalisation, many feel that going further could, “undermine human connection and devalue artistic skills.”
  3. GenAI in journalism is considered very high risk. There are considerable concerns over the potential for the technology to be used in spreading misinformation, deepen divisions in society and replace human interpretations and insight.

The report found that “audiences want humans to be in control, and media to be regulated,” but also suggests that people’s views are evolving as the technology advances at pace. In conclusion, it called for media companies to work towards understanding audience concerns as they navigate the opportunities and challenges GenAI is presenting.

The full report is available to download here