Sports Illustrated Responds To Report It Published Articles By Fake AI Writers

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Sports Illustrated has responded to claims that it published articles written by AI. The iconic sports publication places the blame at the feet of the contractor and has since removed the alleged content.

The illustrious sports magazine came under fire following an article by Futurism suggesting that at least one of its writers was not human. One in particular, David Ortiz, seemed to be a genuine human being from his author biography. But after a deeper look, it was found that Ortiz did not exist. An anonymous source further claimed that Ortiz is one of multiple AI-generated authors on the company’s pay role.

A second anonymous source involved with Sports Illustrated claimed that it was not just the authors who were generated by AI, but that some of the content was as well. Incidents like this have led to a growing tension between human content creators and publications, such as Sports Illustrated. It can be seen in the recent Hollywood writer and actor strikes where they wanted guarantees from media companies that AI would not be used in certain ways.

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While Sports Illustrated did not respond to initial questions from Futurism about the claims, the publication decided to share a statement after the article was published. In short, Sports Illustrated claims to have performed an investigation into the report and that the results show that while the authors presented on the website were using a "pen or pseudo name to protection author privacy," the articles were still all written by humans, not AI. Here's the full statement...
Today, an article was published alleging that Sports Illustrated published AI-generated articles. According to our initial investigation, this is not accurate. The articles in question were product reviews and were licensed content from an external, third-party company, AdVon Commerce. A number of AdVon's e-commerce articles ran on certain Arena websites. We continually monitor our partners and were in the midst of a review when these allegations were raised. AdVon has assured us that all of the articles in question were written and edited by humans. According to AdVon, their writers, editors, and researchers create and curate content and follow a policy that involves using both counter-plagiarism and counter-AI software on all content. However, we have learned that AdVon had writers use a pen or pseudo name in certain articles to protect author privacy — actions we don't condone — and we are removing the content while our internal investigation continues and have since ended the partnership.
Adding to the drama, there was a short period when Ortiz was not seen on Sports Illustrated’s site. However, his profile page contained a link that redirected users to a female author by the name of “Sora Tanaka.” Once again, there was no trace of an author by this name, but the profile picture could be found for sale on the same AI headshot marketplace as Ortiz’s.

Unfortunately, publications, such as USA Today, CNET, and Buzzfeed, have all been accused of using AI-generated articles. The allure of being able to cut out human authors who cost money and replace them with AI-generated authors who come at little to no cost is just too great for companies struggling to keep the lights on. But the cost of deceiving the public by doing so may end up being even greater.

Readers of HotHardware can rest assured that all content on the site is written by, and edited by, humans. Let us know in the comments what your thoughts are on AI-generated content.