German publisher sacks editor over 'tasteless' Michael Schumacher AI chatbot interview

23 April 2023, 07:16 | Updated: 23 April 2023, 07:18

The interview was actually an AI chatbot
The interview was actually an AI chatbot. Picture: Alamy/Die Aktuelle
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The parent company of a magazine that published an AI-generated interview with former F1 champion Michael Schumacher has sacked the editor who published it.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Funke magazines has also apologised to the Schumacher family over the "tasteless" article it says never should have been published.

The article "does not in any way correspond to the standards of journalism that we - and our readers - expect from a publisher like Funke", according to the publisher's managing director Bianca Pohlmann.

Formula 1 fans were after the German magazine said it had a world exclusive interview with Schumacher – but the quotes all came from AI.

Die Aktuelle put a photo of the racing star on its front cover of its April 15 edition saying it was his first interview since a skiing accident.

Read more: Michael Schumacher's family to sue German magazine that said it had interviewed F1 legend - but had quotes from AI bot

Schumacher, the joint most successful F1 driver in history, has not been seen in public since suffering a brain injury in 2013 and being put into a coma.

While the 54-year-old is at home in Geneva, Switzerland, his wife has fiercely guarded his privacy and enforces a relatives-only rule for visitors.

Readers of Die Aktuelle will quickly discover the interview is actually from an AI chat programme.

Schumacher's family has said they are planning to sue over the "fake artificial intelligence" article.

The magazine described it as his "first interview"
The magazine described it as his "first interview". Picture: Die Aktuelle

The magazine says "it sounds deceptively real" on its front cover, under its "world sensation" headline.

The article says it was carried out by a chatbot called Character.ai and has not spoken to the racer or his family.

One motorsport fan wrote on Twitter that the interview was "shocking" and Schumacher's family “should be respected and have the privacy they deserve".

Schumacher has been in a coma for nearly a decade
Schumacher has been in a coma for nearly a decade. Picture: Alamy

Another account wrote: "We all look for stories which will grab attention etc – but that crosses all boundaries and lines."

Schumacher's condition since leaving hospital is unclear due to the intense privacy.

His wife Corinna did speak in the Netflix documentary Schumacher, when she said she misses him "every day".

"I mean, everybody misses Michael, but Michael is here. Different, but he's here and that gives us strength, I find," she said in the 2021 film.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Bradley Cooper reveals 8-month struggle to form connection with daughter Lea: 'I didn’t even know if I really love the kid'

Bradley Cooper reveals eight month struggle to form connection with daughter Lea: 'I don’t even know if I really love the kid'

Nicaragua Crackdown Scouts

Nicaragua crackdown ‘tantamount to crimes against humanity’ – UN

Harry demanded the name of the person responsible for downgrading his security.

Prince Harry demanded name of person responsible for downgrading his security, court documents reveal

Wayne Couzens who raped and murdered Sarah Everard

Police forces to overhaul how they deal with officers caught flashing after damning Wayne Couzens report

The current discussions on MP safety need to be expanded to candidates too

'We must take action now': The current discussions on MP safety need to be expanded to candidates too

Pakistan Politics

Khan supporters protest as lawmakers take oath in Pakistan parliament

Ultra-processed foods have been linked to a wide range of negative health outcomes including early death

Ultra-processed food linked to 32 different health problems including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early death

Rust incident

Production manager testifies about Alec Baldwin shooting in 2021 Rust rehearsal

Playwright Jeremy O’Harris has defended the 'black only' nights

‘Black people have been told they don’t belong at the theatre’: Playwright defends ‘black-only’ nights at West End show

Christian Horner has been cleared of inappropriate behaviour

Geri Halliwell 'relieved and elated' after F1 boss husband Christian Horner is cleared after Red Bull investigation

Dame Esther said she was "disappointed" at no clear call for a vote on assisted dying

‘The law is a mess’: Dame Esther Rantzen issues fresh call for free vote on assisted dying

Canada Gaza Strip Aid

Canada says it is working to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip as soon as possible

Mark Feehily announced he's temporarily stepping away from the band amid health struggles.

Westlife star Mark Feehily reveals he’s standing down from the band just days before US tour leaving fans devastated

The Duke of Sussex took legal action against the Home Office over a decision in 2020 to change the level of his personal security

Prince Harry faces £1m bill after losing High Court challenge over taxpayer funded police protection

Rishi Sunak has warned 'mob rule' is threatening to 'replace democratic rule'.

End descent into ‘mob rule’ and shut down intimidating protests, Rishi Sunak tells police amid threats to MPs

Biden

President Joe Biden declared ‘fit for duty’ after annual medical test