Fans blast magazine for publishing 'Michael Schumacher's first interview' which is actually quotes from AI chatbot

19 April 2023, 17:01

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

By Will Taylor

Formula 1 fans are outraged at a German magazine for saying it had a world exclusive interview with Michael Schumacher – but the quotes all came from AI.

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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.

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.

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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 AI interview, called "My life has completely changed", says: "My life has completely changed since [the accident]. That was a horrible time for my wife, my children and the whole family.

"I was so badly injured that I lay for months in a kind of artificial coma, because otherwise my body couldn’t have dealt with it all.

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"I've had a tough time but the hospital team has managed to bring me back to my family."

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.

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