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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Daniel Moxon

Michael Schumacher's family to take legal action against magazine for fake AI interview

Michael Schumacher's family have confirmed their plans to take legal action against the German magazine which plastered a fake 'interview' with the Formula One legend all over its front page.

Die Aktuelle claimed on the cover of its April 15th edition to have secured "the first interview" with Schumacher since his horror skiing accident almost a decade ago. But it quickly became clear that something was not quite right about it.

The magazine claimed to have secured a chat which they said included "no meagre, nebulous half-sentences from friends. But answers from him! By Michael Schumacher, 54." However, it quickly became clear that the article had been generated by an AI chatbot.

A spokesperson for the family has now told ESPN that they plan to take legal action against Die Aktuelle over the stunt.

Schumacher has been out of the public eye ever since his accident. After several months in hospital he was sent home to be cared for by his wife Corinna and a medical team and, ever since, updates have been few and far between.

The family has made his privacy their highest priority and details of his condition are well guarded. Only a select few know the truth about the impact the crash had on Schumacher and no-one has ever sat down for an interview and spoken freely about his battle.

Nevertheless, the magazine claimed to have published quotes about his injuries and family life in the un-bylined 'interview'. But the front cover begins to give the game away with the tagline: "It sounds deceptively real."

As the main piece admits on the inside of the magazine, the interview never took place and AI was used to generate the German's 'quotes'. It read: "Did Michael Schumacher really say everything himself? The interview was online. On a page that has to do with artificial intelligence, or AI for short."

Schumacher's wife Corinna now cares for him and fiercely protects his privacy (AFP via Getty Images)

The insensitive piece was widely criticised on social media and by German media expert Boris Rosenkranz, who labelled the stunt "too stupid to be true". And even though Die Aktuelle clearly took some steps to avoid legal hot water, their lawyers look likely to have some more work to do.

It is not the first time that the German magazine has been criticised for its reporting around the Schumachers.

A 2015 front cover featured Schumacher's wife Corinna alongside the headline "a new love". The magazine won the legal case brought against it by the family, who argued that, even though the article was referring to their daughter Gina, the headline made it sound like it was Corinna who had found a new romance.

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