German Magazine Used AI to Fake An Interview with Formula 1 Legend Michael Schumacher

Funke Media Group, the owner of the weekly magazine Die Aktuelle, has issued an apology to Michael Schumacher’s family after the publication of a misleading article that claimed to be an “interview” with the seven-time Formula 1 champion. 

The article in question was generated by artificial intelligence and featured “quotes” from Schumacher, who has not been seen in public since a skiing accident in December 2013 that caused him to suffer a serious brain injury.

Funke’s released a statement to apologize for the “tasteless and misleading article,” which it said, “should never have appeared.” The company’s managing director, Bianca Pohlmann, said that “immediate personnel consequences will be drawn.” 

Pohlmann announced that Die Aktuelle editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann would be relieved of her duties, effective immediately. Hoffman has been the magazine’s chief editor since 2009.

The article, which appeared on the front cover of the magazine, was headlined “Michael Schumacher, the first interview,” with a strapline that read “It sounds deceptively real.” However, it was later revealed that the quotes had been produced by AI.

Schumacher’s family maintains strict privacy about the former driver’s condition, with access limited to those closest to him. In a 2021 Netflix documentary, his wife, Corinna Schumacher, said they were doing “everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he’s comfortable, and to simply make him feel our family, our bond.”

According to spokeswoman Sabine Kehm in an email to the New York Times on Monday, the family is planning to take legal action against the magazine.

Forget AI, is Anne Hoffman even real?

Interestingly, the German publication Übermedien says that they’re not even sure Anne Hoffman actually even exists. Übermedien attempted to interview Hoffman numerous times to no avail.

Information for this story was found via Funke, Übermedien, The New York Times, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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