Editor sacked over Schumacher AI ‘interview’

The editor of a German magazine that published an artificial intelligence-generated ‘interview’ with Michael Schumacher has been sacked.

The magazine’s publisher has apologised to the Formula 1 legend’s family.

Schumacher, a seven-time world champion, suffered severe head injuries in a skiing accident in December 2013 and has not been seen in public since.

Die Aktuelle ran a front cover with a headline of “Michael Schumacher, the first interview”.

A strapline underneath a smiling picture of Schumacher read “it sounded deceptively real”, and it emerged in the article that the supposed quotes had been produced by AI.

The article was produced using an AI programme called charatcter.ai, which artificially generated Schumacher ‘quotes’ about his health and family.

“I can with the help of my team actually stand by myself and even slowly walk a few steps,” read the Schumacher ‘quotes’.

“My wife and my children were a blessing to me and without them I would not have managed it. Naturally they are also very sad, how it has all happened.

“They support me and are standing firmly at my side.” Schumacher’s family said on Friday that they plan to take legal action against the magazine and over the weekend its publisher issued an apology.

BBC News 23 April 2023