Interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has skyrocketed in recent years, both among the media and the general public. At the same time, media coverage of AI has wildly varied in quality – at one end, tabloid and clickbait media outlets have produced outrageously inaccurate portrayals of AI that reflect science fiction more than reality. At the other end, news outlets such as The New York Times or Wired have had specialized reporters such as Cade Metz and Tom Simonite who consistently write well-researched and accurate portrayals of AI. But, even responsible media coverage can inadvertently (and often unintentionally) propagate subtle misconceptions of AI through choice of wording, imagery, or analogy.
As AI researchers, we are both invested and sensitive to how AI is portrayed in the media. In this article, we present a list of best practices for media coverage of AI, some of which may not be obvious to people without a technical background in AI. In being a set of best practices, this list will not be representative of what even we as researchers always do, but rather principles to keep in mind and try to stick to. The list is inspired both by our own observations, and the observations of the AI researchers we surveyed online and at the Stanford AI Lab. We hope it will be useful to journalists, researchers, and anyone who reads or writes about AI.