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Vasiljev, Anastasija, 2024. Understandings of Artificial Intelligence in online climate change contrarian communities. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Despite widespread scientific consensus on the impacts of anthropogenic climate change, many people still deny its reality, which hinders global mitigation and adaptation efforts. This thesis addresses a critical gap in our understanding how climate change contrarians perceive and interact with emerging technologies, specifically artificial intelligence (AI). The aim of this thesis is to explore the intersection of AI discourse and climate change contrarianism to reveal how contrarians integrate AI into their worldviews. Using thematic analysis, the thesis analyses 22 blogs and more than 1000 comments to systematically identify recurring themes in discussions about AI and climate change contrarianism. The findings show that contrarians view AI as both a tool and a threat. They see it as a promoter of a scientific consensus on climate change, which they challenge or reinterpret through a conspiratorial lens. They also strategically use AI to create narratives that support their views and spread misinformation. Some contrarians express desire to actively oppose mainstream scientific narratives by developing their own AI, battle existing AI systems, and use AI to amplify their beliefs. Their negative perceptions of AI stem from its perceived alignment with mainstream climate agendas, which intensifies their resistance and anti-reflexive tendencies, preventing them from alterning their views. The thesis also highlights the potential for leveraging AI, particularly large language models, as transformative tools for engaging and possibly shifting contrarian beliefs.

Main title:Understandings of Artificial Intelligence in online climate change contrarian communities
Authors:Vasiljev, Anastasija
Supervisor:Rödl, Malte
Examiner:Fischer, Anke
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2024
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM026 Environmental communication and management - Master's programme
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:climate change, climate change denial, conspiracy, AI, ChatGPT
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Deposited On:27 Jun 2024 08:28
Metadata Last Modified:28 Jun 2024 01:04

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