Public Values in /media

Automated decision systems in media sector

A well-functioning media system is a precondition for people to exercise their rights as free and equal citizens in a democratic society. Although the media hold public and private powers to account, they do not do so through public authority but by organizing and informing public opinion — a process increasingly mediated by a handful of powerful platforms including search engines, social media and technology companies. This makes the media sector particularly suitable for studying how automation and ADS are affecting critical democratic processes such as public deliberation, the formation of democratic will, and trust in public institutions. 

The media is also where we can study how ADS affect the ability of citizens to engage in politics and how active citizenship can contribute to the realization of public values by engaging with and challenging technology. 

Journalism’s role in informing public perceptions can be a form of governance power, exerting pressure on companies to observe public values in ADS. Traditional and new platform-based media are places of intense, AI-driven innovation, ranging from data-driven news sourcing and automated production of content to the algorithmic moderation of disinformation and and engaging with citizens. 

Studying the media thus helps us to better understand how the debate over the societal impact of technology and the need for responsible technology design shapes societal and institutional processes around the implementation of ADS. The key challenge for this sector is to define and realize public values in an algorithmic democracy.

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