#21 Responsible Media Coverage: Hype in Stories About Chatbots | WeAreSTS

WeAreSTS - A Podcast from UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS), hosted by Professor Joe Cain.

Is AI sentient? Do machines have souls? I’ve got an even better question: are these questions the most important ones we should be asking? Headlines claiming machines could be alive are definitely eye-catching. But hype does not come unaccompanied: misinformation, fear, and fake news are close friends with sensationalism. They target audiences who probably know enough about the topic, but not enough to critically analyse the information fed to them. Understanding the role the media plays in opinion-making about new science and technology is vital when we are dealing our own decision making over risk, harm, and benefit.

Further information on Hype, Chatbots, and AI

The full conversation between Google engineers and LaMDA is available online.


Reporter and researcher


  1. Dr Stephen Hughes, Lecturer in UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)
  2. Dr Amanda Rees, Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of York
  3. Dr Nina Seppala, Deputy Director (Academic Affairs) of the School of Management at University College London


Music credits

Intro and Exit music

Interval music

  • “Andréa’s theme” by Michael Sansbury

Podcast information

WeAreSTS is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, or to leave feedback about the show:


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WeAreSTS producer is Professor Joe Cain.

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