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Schumacher family wins six-figure sum in AI interview scandal

A fake conversation with the Formula One legend cost Germany’s Die Aktuelle €200,000

The family of Formula One racing legend Michael Schumacher has won compensation of €200,000 ($217,000) over an AI-generated interview published by a German magazine, a family spokeswoman told Reuters on Wednesday.

Last year, German publication Die Aktuelle ran a picture of Schumacher on the front cover of its April edition with an inscription reading “Michael Schumacher: The first interview!” Below, in smaller print, the outlet added that “it sounds deceptively true.”

The 55-year old has not appeared in public since suffering a serious brain injury in a skiing accident in 2013. Schumacher’s current whereabouts are unknown, but there has been speculation in the media that he resides at the family’s home in Switzerland.

The fake conversation that at first sight could be easily mistaken as genuine, included such quotes as “my life has completely changed since [the accident]” and “I was so badly injured that I lay for months in a kind of artificial coma.” At the conclusion of the interview, it was disclosed that all of Schumacher’s responses had been generated by an AI chatbot.

READ MORE: Schumacher family to sue magazine over AI-generated interview

Shortly after the publication hit the shelves, Schumacher’s family, which prefers to maintain strict privacy about his condition and limits access to him to close relatives, announced plans to take legal action against Funke media group, which publishes the Die Aktuelle magazine.

The group offered an apology to the family and sacked Die Aktuelle chief editor Anne Hoffmann. The publisher’s CEO Bianca Pohlmann called the article “tasteless and misleading,” adding that it doesn’t meet the standards of journalism.


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