German Editor Sacked Over Michael Schumacher AI-Generated Interview
Anne Hoffmann, the German editor who published an “interview” generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Michael Schumacher, has been fired and the media company has issued an apology to the Formula One (F1) champion’s family.
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The editor-in-chief of Die Aktuelle, a German tabloid owned by Funke media group, has been fired after she published an AI-generated interview with seven-time F1 champion, Michael Schumacher, with alleged quotes about his family and health.
The German magazine ran a headline on the front page stating “Michael Schumacher, the first interview” with a phrase that read, “it sounded deceptively real” beside a smiling photo of the champion.
The fact that the words ascribed to the former racing champion were produced by an AI program wasn’t revealed until deep into the magazine’s pages generated debate among readers and rage amongst Schumacher’s fans and family. It was also later discovered that the article had been generated using an AI application called character.ai.
According to a report by The Daily Mail, the F1 legend has not made a public appearance since suffering severe head injuries in a skiing accident back in December 2013 after which his family chose to keep his medical condition private.
The Die Aktuelle article featured quotes such as “I can with the help of my team actually stand by myself and even slowly walk a few steps”, “My wife and my children were a blessing to me and without them, I would not have managed it.
Other quotes stated, “Naturally they are also very sad, how it has all happened”, and “They support me and are standing firmly at my side.”
As a result, Schumacher’s family announced their intention to sue the magazine, and over the weekend, the magazine’s publisher apologized.
Funke media group managing director Bianca Pohlmann said, “This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared. It in no way meets the standards of journalism that we and our readers expect from a publisher like Funke.”
She additionally announced the firing of the editor saying”
As a result of the publication of this article, immediate personnel consequences will be drawn. Die Aktuelle editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann, who has held journalistic responsibility for the paper since 2009, will be relieved of her duties as of today.
The 54-year-old champion is a legend in F1 having competed for Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari, and Mercedes. During his career, he won two F1 world drivers’ championships with Benetton in 1994 and 1995. Additionally, he won five straight championships with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.
Together with Lewis Hamilton, he holds the record for the most Formula One championships with seven titles, and with 91 races won, Schumacher set a mark of the highest career race victories that Hamilton eventually broke in 2020.
After initially quitting racing in 2006, the German racer made a comeback in 2010 before quitting once more two years later. Schumacher’s son, Mick, took after his father and competed in Formula One for Haas. However, he presently serves as a reserve driver for Mercedes.
Schumacher’s Family Maintains His Privacy
The one time his family spoke publicly of his medical status was in a 2021 Netflix documentary named Schumacher, where his wife Corinna said:
We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he’s comfortable, and to simply make him feel our family, our bond.
“We’re trying to carry on as a family, the way Michael liked it and still does”, she added., “and we are getting on with our lives. ‘
Emphasizing on the privacy of the family she said, “Private is private’, as he always said. It’s very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible. Michael always protected us, and now we are protecting Michael.