Artificial intelligence in the media: a differentiated view is necessary

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A representative study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung has shown that acceptance of artificial intelligence and algorithmic decision-making tends to prevail in Germany. At any rate, attitudes are neither predominantly positive nor negative. Why can you get the impression that attitudes are predominantly skeptical?

Media mostly reports positively about artificial intelligence

The answer is simple: What people know about topics such as artificial intelligence and algorithmic decision-making, they learn mainly through the media. In another study, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has therefore examined the question of how coverage in Germany is regarding artificial intelligence and algorithms. The study, "How Germany Writes About Algorithms," examines media discourse over the past 15 years. The focus here was on leading media as well as specialist blogs and websites. The study analyzes the extent to which articles tend to be positive and opportunity-oriented or focus more on negative aspects and problematize them. Here, again, an interesting picture emerges.

The focus of the articles is on the areas of business and technology

Thus, the study comes to the conclusion that the majority of media coverage in Germany regarding artificial intelligence and algorithms is positive. However, the impression can often be given that the focus is more on the negative aspects. How does this fit together? A more detailed look is needed here. The media coverage regarding artificial intelligence in Germany is predominantly in the business and technological fields. Thus, almost 70 percent of media coverage takes place in these two areas. Technological developments and trends are presented here. Scientific papers primarily present a differentiated picture. The same applies to the business sector. New opportunities, strategies and products are presented here in particular. The presentation of opportunities is in the foreground here. Thus, it can be stated that a large part of the media is dominated by thoroughly balanced coverage from the areas of technology and business.

Little coverage of sociopolitical issues

Only a smaller proportion of news coverage takes place in the socio-political field. This is probably where the answer can be found. For example, with less coverage of AI compared to other areas, negative media articles naturally carry more weight. Moreover, they can attract more attention. After that, the solution should be simpler than thought. Balanced news coverage in all areas can promise a solution. This is the conclusion of the Bertelsmann Stiftung study. Civil society and political voices and issues should therefore achieve greater relevance. For example, diversity in media coverage is lacking to strengthen knowledge in the debate on artificial intelligence. Therefore, the study recommends that leading media focuses more on artificial intelligence topics. To enable a broad understanding and ultimately trust for artificial intelligence. Because only those who are informed can form their own differentiated picture. You are welcome to get an idea of the opportunities of AI technology from 21strategies on our website.


Fischer, Sarah und Puschmann, Cornelius (2021). Wie Deutschland über Algorithmen schreibt. Eine Analyse des Mediendiskurses über Algorithmen und Künstliche Intelligenz (2005–2020), in: Bertelsmann Stiftung (eds.), Gütersloh.

https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/de/publikationen/publikation/did/wie-deutschland-ueber-algorithmen-schreibt [15.06.2022].

Author: Tanja Zimmermann