Sports Illustrated Accused of Publishing AI-Generated Articles with Fictitious Authors

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Sports Illustrated Accused of Publishing AI-Generated Articles with Fictitious Authors

Sports Illustrated, a well-known sports magazine, has recently come under scrutiny for allegedly publishing articles on its website that were generated by artificial intelligence (AI), without disclosing this to its readers. The discovery was made by Futurism, a website that previously uncovered a similar situation with Cnet, where AI-generated content was stealthily published.

What’s particularly striking is that Sports Illustrated not only utilized AI-generated content but also created fictitious authors. These supposed authors were depicted using photos available for purchase on a website specializing in AI-generated portrait images. Strangely, these individuals couldn’t be found on social media or anywhere else online, and there was no record of them having written any prior articles.

These fictitious authors were provided with detailed profiles, portraying them as experts in various sports-related activities like hiking and camping. What’s even more puzzling is that these author descriptions were periodically replaced with new ones, each accompanied by AI-generated portraits, and the new names were attributed to the old articles.

When these questionable articles came to attention, Sports Illustrated promptly removed them without any explanation.

Upon inquiry, Futurism initially received no response. However, shortly after their query, a series of articles were swiftly taken down. Subsequently, the website received information suggesting that the texts were licensed from an external source, purportedly a company named Advon Commerce. Additionally, similar articles were found on other platforms owned by Sports Illustrated’s parent company, Arena Group, like TheStreet website.

Contradicting Arena’s statement, anonymous internal sources speaking to Futurism disputed the explanation. Even if Arena believed they were publishing content by real authors, it doesn’t clarify why the company resorted to creating fake personas.

The use of AI-generated content by Arena isn’t entirely surprising, considering CEO Ross Levinsohn had earlier indicated their intent to experiment with AI in early 2023, promising quality content. Futurism had previously unveiled undisclosed use of AI content at Cnet in the same year.

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Mark Brannon
Tech journalist Mark Brannon explores the digital frontier, delivering engaging news and in-depth features on cutting-edge innovations and industry developments.