DOI: 10.1177/20594364231196547 ISSN:

AI anxiety? Comparing the sociotechnical imaginaries of artificial intelligence in UK, Chinese and Indian newspapers

Weili Wang, John Downey, Fan Yang
  • Communication
  • Cultural Studies

A growing body of work insists that artificial intelligence (AI) must be regarded as a sociotechnical imaginary in the manner of earlier technologies. In this paper we contribute to this field by investigating the representation of AI across very different countries and across time to assess whether these representations are influenced by their socio-economic, political, and cultural contexts, and whether they change over time. By applying computational topic modelling methods, we investigate narratives around AI in 9 newspapers across the UK, China and India over a time frame of 12 years, from 2011 to 2022. Our results indicate that there are both dystopian and utopian narratives associated with AI, as indeed there have been with other technologies. Debates about AI tend very much to reflect national priorities, preoccupations, hopes and fears, all of which are projected onto emerging AI technologies.

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