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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Sami Quadri

Michael Schumacher: Magazine editor sacked over AI-generated 'interview'

The editor of a German magazine has been sacked after publishing an “interview” with Michael Schumacher generated by artificial intelligence (AI).

The former Formula One champion , 54, has not been seen in public since he suffered a serious brain injury in a skiing accident on a family holiday in the French Alps in December 2013.

The family has guarded his privacy since, giving little information on his condition . The latest edition of Die Aktuelle ran a front cover with a headline stating: “Michael Schumacher, the first interview." The strapline added: “It sounded deceptively real.”

Inside, it emerged that the quotes had been produced using AI.

The article in the German magazine supposedly quotes Schumacher as saying: “My life has changed completely since [the accident]. That was a horrible time for my wife, my children and the whole family.

“I lay for months in a kind of artificial coma because otherwise, my body couldn’t have dealt with it all. Much better than years ago. With the help of my team, I can even stand on my own again and even walk a few steps slowly.”

A spokesman for the Schumachers confirmed that lawyers are preparing legal action.

The publisher of the magazine has also apologised for publishing the “tasteless and misleading” article.

“This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared. It in no way meets the standards of journalism that we - and our readers - expect," said Bianca Pohlmann, managing director of Funke media group.

“As a result of the publication of this article, immediate personnel consequences will be drawn.

“Die Aktuelle editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann, who has held journalistic responsibility for the paper since 2009, will be relieved of her duties as of today.”

In a 2021 Netflix documentary, Schumacher’s wife, Corinna, said it was important for the family that her husband “continues to enjoy his private life as much as possible”.

Corinna attempted to sue Die Aktuelle for £42,000 in 2015 after they used a picture of her with the headline: “Corinna Schumacher - a new love makes her happy.”

The story actually referred to her daughter Gina-Maria, now 26, and the family lawyer filed a lawsuit claiming the depiction was misleading.

The case was dropped.

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