AI-generated news. Swiss news consumers akeptical of AI in journalism: Fög’s latest report”
A representative survey conducted by the Institute of Public Opinion and Society (Fög) at the University of Zurich reveals that the Swiss population is skeptical about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in news production. Fög highlights that there is considerable reluctance among people to consume AI-generated news content and pay for access. However, media content companies are increasingly turning to AI for news production, with the introduction of generative AI, like ChatGPT, further fueling this trend.
For the first time, Fög has examined the population’s attitude towards AI-generated journalistic contributions. They conducted a survey of 1,254 internet users in German-speaking Switzerland and Romandy.
During the presentation of the latest annual report on the quality of Swiss media in Zurich, Fög stressed that less than a third (29%) of the population is interested in reading articles entirely written by AI. In contrast, 84% are willing to read texts written by human journalists without any AI involvement.
Daniel Vogler, head of research at Fög, stated that the role of journalists in news is still essential for the public.
AI acceptance varies by news category
Acceptance of AI varies depending on the type of news category. People are more accepting of AI-generated weather, sports, or stock market news, compared to political, economic, or scientific news. Additionally, more than 80% of respondents want AI-generated media content to be clearly labeled as such.
A majority of the Swiss population (61%) believe that the overall quality of journalistic production worsens with increased reliance on AI. Concerns about a reduction in diversity of opinion and an increase in fake news are prominent among respondents.
Swiss media has been hesitant to clearly label AI-generated content, but over 80% of the surveyed individuals want it to be clearly identified. Media expert and Fög director Mark Eisenegger emphasizes the importance of Swiss media. Swiss media should declare its use of artificial intelligence to distinguish itself from less serious offerings based on generative AI.
Only around 10% of respondents are willing to pay for entirely AI-written journalistic content. This could be due to concerns about receiving lower-quality texts and the perception that AI usage could lead to cost and time savings for the media.
Challenges facing Swiss journalism
Apart from the challenges posed by AI, journalism in Switzerland also faces the issue of a growing user group. This user group is less interested in consuming journalistic content. This group now accounts for 43% of the population.
Many Swiss citizens express a preference for “constructive journalism”, which not only highlights problems but also suggests potential solutions. Developing this type of journalism further could help combat the phenomenon of “news deprivation.”