German publisher apologises for AI-generated Schumacher interview

A German publisher has apologised for publishing an AI-generated interview with Michael Schumacher.

Funke magazines is also firing the editor of Die Aktuelle over the “tasteless and misleading article” which it now says should “never have appeared”.

Managing director Bianca Pohlmann said the piece “does not in any way correspond to the standards of journalism that we – and our readers – expect from a publisher like Funke”.

Ms Pohlmann said the group also apologised to Schumacher’s family.

Family spokesperson Sabine Kehm already told The Associated Press on Thursday that it was planning to take legal action over a “fake artificial intelligence interview” by Die Aktuelle.

The magazine printed a photo of the 54-year-old former racing driver on its front page last weekend along with the words: “Michael Schumacher, the first interview!”

The magazine also wrote “it sounds deceptively real” with the supposed quotes attributed to Schumacher generated by AI.

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Die Aktuelle is one of many tabloid celebrity magazines in Germany.

It was while skiing in the French Alps resort of Meribel that Schumacher fell in December 2013 and suffered a near-fatal brain injury.

His head hit a rock which split open his helmet. Doctors removed blood clots but others were left untouched because they were too deeply embedded in his brain.

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Since being transferred from hospital in September 2014, the seven-time F1 champion continues to be cared for privately at a family home in Switzerland.

Schumacher retired from F1 in 2012 after three seasons with Mercedes and was replaced on the team by Lewis Hamilton, who has since matched Schumacher’s F1 titles record.