German magazine sack editor over fake Michael Schumacher AI interview

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A German publisher has sacked one of its magazine's editors and apologized to the family of Michael Schumacher for publishing a fake interview with the Formula One great that was generated by artificial intelligence.

Tabloid magazine Die Aktuelle ran a front cover spread promising an exclusive interview with Schumacher, who has not been seen in public since suffering a serious brain injury in a 2013 skiing accident. Only after the 'interview' it is revealed in the magazine that the article was generated by an AI chatbot.

Funke magazines managing director Bianca Pohlmann said on Saturday: "This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared. It does not in any way correspond to the standards of journalism that we -- and our readers -- expect from a publisher like Funke."

Pohlmann said Funke was firing the chief editor of Die Aktuelle magazine, where the so-called interview appeared, and the group apologized to Schumacher's family.

A Schumacher family spokesperson confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that legal action would be taken.

The magazine printed a photo of the 54-year-old Schumacher on its front page along with the words: "Michael Schumacher, the first interview!"

The magazine also wrote "it sounds deceptively real" with the supposed quotes attributed to Schumacher generated by AI. Die Aktuelle is one of many tabloid celebrity magazines in Germany.

Schumacher retired from F1 in 2012 after three seasons with Mercedes and was replaced on the team by Lewis Hamilton, who has matched Schumacher's F1 titles record.