Covering Technology Risks and Responsibility: Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Algorithms in the Media

Cornelia Brantner, Florian Saurwein


Rapid technological advances in automation, algorithms, robots, and artificial intelligence (AI) entail risks, such as the loss of jobs, biases, and security threats, which raises questions about responsibility for the damage incurred by such risks and the development of solutions to ameliorate them. Because media play a central role in the representation and perception of technological risks and responsibility, this study explores the news coverage of automation. While previous research has focused on specific technologies, this study conducts a comprehensive analysis of the debate on automation, algorithms, robotics, and AI, including tonality, risks, and responsibility. The longitudinal media content analysis of three decades of Austrian news reports revealed that overall, the coverage increased, and it was optimistic in tone. However, algorithms were more frequently associated with risks and less positivity than other automation areas. Robotics received the most positive and the least risk-related coverage. Moreover, industry stakeholders were at the center of the responsibility network in the media discourse.


automation, artificial intelligence, AI, robotics, algorithms, responsibility, risks, media coverage, content analysis

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