A survey carried out by BBC Studios reveals that 73 per cent of Australians could not determine whether they had been fooled by AI-generated content or fake news, with a further 9 per cent clearly identifying an instance of having been tricked by unreal content.
This shows that only a small number of Australians (18 per cent) consider themselves never to have been fooled by AI-generated content or fake news.
The survey, which explored Australians’ attitudes towards verifying news stories and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in spreading misinformation, revealed that only 39 per cent of respondents said they feel well-informed about how to spot fake news, and more than half (53 per cent) said they do not think they could identify a news article created using AI.
Australians have mixed feelings towards AI’s impact on society, with 37 per cent believing that it has a positive impact on society and 43 per cent considering the impact to be negative. 70 per cent agree that AI amplifies the spread of misinformation in news and almost two thirds (64 per cent) said they are not likely to trust news sources which indicate that they use AI to generate stories.
The study shows that Australians are making conscious efforts to avoid sharing unverified headlines and news stories on their own social and chat accounts, with 83 per cent regularly using a secondary source to check news stories and breaking news if it comes from a source they are not familiar with.
Mainstream international media organisations are considered the most reliable sources of accurate news stories, with 72 per cent of respondents in agreement.
Image shows chart of responses to survey question
Local and national media organisations also rated highly, whilst news aggregators (11 per cent) and search engines (17 per cent) were amongst those rated poorly as sources of accurate news. Less than 3.5 per cent consider social media outlets to be reliable news sources and the least trusted is celebrities, with less than 0.5 per cent considering them a reliable source
“These findings demonstrate the high level of concern about the spread of misinformation and the role that new technologies can play in that, along with the importance of verifying news stories. This feels even more significant in a year when half of the world’s voting age public could be partaking in elections and the role media & news publishers will play during these moments. The research also echoes prominent recent findings such as from the Edelman Trust Barometer that highlight the public’s fears around rapid innovation, and in particular the impact AI may have on society,” said Jamie Chambers, BBC Studios’ VP, Australia & New Zealand ad sales.
“The role of media during elections, increased risk of AI and heightened need for unbiased, trusted journalism offers a great platform for the BBC to showcase its value to audiences. Against the coming wave of generative AI, the BBC provides audiences with accurate, impartial information to navigate the rise in disinformation and shows audiences exactly what we know and how we know it through BBC Verify. It’s equally important to be transparent about what we aren’t able to verify, so audiences have all the information they need. This transparency is a vital part of our relationship with audiences and is paramount for our commercial partners, who in turn will enjoy the value that a trusted, premium environment delivers for their advertising campaigns”.
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