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AI critiques in the press

Maxime Crépel, Dominique Cardon, Robin de Mourat, Donato Ricci, Jean-Philippe Cointet, Salomé Do, Yannis Bouachera

This website presents some of the results of research carried out under Sciences Po Médialab’s Algoglitch project. It combines descriptive analyses with data graphics on a corpus of press articles on the topic of AI and algorithms, spanning a 5-year period in the United States and United Kingdom. Using natural language processing applied to a press corpus, this research explores critical discourses on AI in the media sphere. Using natural language processing on a press corpus, we show that the subject of AI has been occupying an increasingly larger space in the press over the past five years. The media space is structured thematically around different calculation technologies and fields of application, and can be divided into two semantic subsets. A comparative analysis of these two semantic spaces reveals two dominant regimes of criticism involving a variety of technical and human entities, as well as different time scales and issues. The first is structured around the injustices produced by the algorithms that shape our everyday calculation environments, which are associated with criticism of the biases, discrimination, monitoring, and censorship of which specific populations are the victims. The second space is structured around fears of the autonomy of AI and robots which, as autonomous and embodied technical entities, are associated with a prophetic discourse drawing attention to our capacity to control these entities capable of simulating or surpassing our physical and cognitive abilities. The threat to our physical safety and economic model, and consequently to all of humanity, is thus highlighted.