The editor-in-chief of a German magazine that used an artificial intelligence program to create fake quotes from Michael Schumacher has been sacked.
“This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared. It in no way meets the journalistic standards that we – and our readers – have come to expect,” said Bianca Pohlmann, managing director of Funke Media Group. Which publishes the magazine Die Aktuelle.
The magazine was labeled “outrageous” by online fans for portraying the AI reactions as an “exclusive interview” on its 15 April front cover.
“As a result of the publication of this article, there will be immediate personnel consequences. Die Aktuelle’s editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann, who has been responsible for the newspaper’s journalism since 2009, will be relieved of her duties as of today,” Ms. Pohlmann said. .
The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has not been seen in public since suffering a near-fatal brain injury while skiing in Meribel, France, in December 2013. His wife Corinna has insisted on protecting Schumacher’s privacy in the nine years his medical condition has been shrouded in secrecy as he recovers at home in Switzerland.
The magazine said it was “the first interview” Schumacher has given since his accident, and added: “No trivia, vague half-sentences from friends. But answers from him! By Michael Schumacher, 54!”
The article, produced using a program called charatcter.ai, contained the quote: “I can actually stand up by myself and even slowly walk a few steps with the help of my team.”
“My wife and my kids were a blessing to me and without them I would not have managed this. Naturally they are also very sad about how it all turned out.
“They support me and stand firmly by my side.”
The “interview”, titled “My Life Has Completely Changed”, was criticized by his fans worldwide, with the Schumacher family saying they planned to take Die Actual and Funke Media Group to court.