From Hephaestus’s golden servants to Karel Čapek’s Roboti, we have been imagining intelligent machines since long before we could build them. As artificial intelligence and robotics begin to fulfil their promise, they therefore arrive pre-loaded with meaning, sparking associations — and media attention — disproportionate to their capacities.
This matters: how we talk about new technologies and their risks and benefits can significantly influence their development, regulation, and place in public opinion. Balancing AI’s potential and its pitfalls therefore requires navigating this web of associations.
CFI and the Royal Society therefore launched the AI Narratives Project to explore how AI is currently portrayed, what impact that might be having, and what we can learn from how other complex, novel technologies have been communicated.
The project included a series of interdisciplinary workshops, culminating in a report and recommendations. Further work is now being conducted as part of the Global AI Narratives project.
Portrayals and perceptions of AI and why they matter
Report by Claire Craig, Stephen Cave, Kanta Dihal, Sarah Dillon, Jess Montgomery, Beth Singler, Lindsay Taylor