"This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared."
Relieved of Duties
Here's a pro tip for editors: do not, under any circumstance, publish an artificial intelligence-generated "interview" with someone you didn't actually interview, especially if they have suffered a life-altering injury.
Anne Hoffmann, the longtime editor of the German-language tabloid Die Aktuelle, is learning this lesson the hard way. She has been "relieved of duties," per the magazine's publisher, for publishing an AI-generated interview with Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, who suffered a brain injury from a skiing accident in 2013 and hasn't made a public appearance since then.
In the statement, the publisher said that it "apologizes to the Schumacher family" after the star's representatives said that they plan to press charges against the tabloid for publishing the interview last week.
"This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared," Bianca Pohlmann, FUNKE's managing director, said in a translation of the statement. "It in no way corresponds to the standards of journalism that we — and our readers — expect from a publisher like FUNKE."
The "interview" in question appeared under a cover story claiming to be "the first interview" with the F1 legend since his accident, and featured a made-up quote attributed to Schumacher about how his "life has changed completely."
While the piece did mention that it was generated by an AI and did not feature any actual quotes from the ex-racer himself, it didn't do so until the very end of the piece.
As ESPN reports, this was not the first time the Schumacher family has had to deal with Die Aktuelle's mistakes.
Just a year after the racing star's skiing accident, the magazine featured a photo of Schumacher and his wife Corinna on its front cover, alongside a misleading headline that said "Awake." The article in question was about the possibility of someone "waking up" from a coma, but if someone just saw the headline and image, they would have thought Schumacher had actually recovered fully.
While this debacle will hopefully serve as a cautionary tale, it seems that this kind of thing will, unfortunately, become all the more common as AI continues to be rapidly integrated into society.
More on AI grossness: Fury as Magazine Uses AI to Generate Fake Interview With Michael Schumacher
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