Schumacher’s Family to Sue Over Fake AI Interview

    Schumacher’s Family to Sue Over Fake AI Interview
    Last updated Apr 20, 2023
    Image credit: ALLSPORT [via The Guardian]


    • On Wednesday, the family of Michael Schumacher said they would file suit against the publisher of Die Aktuelle, a German magazine, for running a fake interview with the seven-time F1 champion that was created by artificial intelligence (AI).
    • Schumacher hasn't been seen publicly since he suffered a near-fatal brain injury in December 2013 while skiing. His medical condition has been kept confidential with his wife, Corinna, focused on protecting his privacy.
    • The April 15 edition of the magazine featured a picture of a smiling Schumacher on its front cover and a headline promoting “Michael Schumacher, the first interview.”
    • A strapline under the headline read, “it sounded deceptively real.”
    • In the story, Schumacher was quoted as saying his life has “completely changed” since the accident, which left him in a “kind of artificial coma” for months. The magazine revealed the quotes were generated by AI at the end of the article.


    Narrative A

    While this was an undeniably tone-deaf stunt, there’s no reason for legal action. Schumacher is a public figure, and the magazine — fully transparent about the origin of the "interview" — had the right to attract attention by using his name. It seems the family wants privacy except when they agree to sit for interviews for their own documentary, as they did in 2022.

    Narrative B

    This was a disgusting, self-promoting tactic by Die Aktuelle, and the Schumacher family deserves any damages it can get from the magazine. But beyond the Schumacher family’s predicament, this incident shows how AI can be used for nefarious purposes, and the world must prepare for the blurring of the line between true and fake information.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 80% chance that there will be an event precipitated by AI that causes at least 100 deaths and/or at least $1B in economic damage by 2032, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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