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– AI Allegations: Sports Illustrated Accused of AI-Authored Articles

Report by Futurism finds articles written by fake authors but Arena Group says articles were commer…

The scandal involving Sports Illustrated revolves around allegations of utilizing artificial intelligence to produce articles, as uncovered by an investigative report from Futurism. The publication allegedly featured fictitious authors with AI-generated biographies and headshots.

For instance, the profile of “Sora Tanaka,” a supposed product reviewer, highlighted her passion for fitness and nutrition. However, investigations revealed that Sora Tanaka does not actually exist.

The Arena Group, which acquired Sports Illustrated in 2019, refuted these claims, attributing the disputed articles to commercial content provided by AdVon Commerce, a third-party advertising company. Nonetheless, the magazine faced further backlash for non-commercial pieces purportedly authored by AI, such as an article on volleyball credited to “Drew Ortiz,” a fabricated persona.

In response to the allegations, the Arena Group denied the AI-generated content accusations, stating that AdVon Commerce assured them of human involvement in the creation and editing of the articles. Subsequently, the Arena Group terminated its association with AdVon and removed its content from their platforms, emphasizing their disapproval of pseudonymous writing practices.

The controversy poses a threat to Sports Illustrated’s credibility, previously renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication’s history includes contributions from esteemed writers like William Faulkner and John Updike, alongside its iconic swimsuit editions.

Beyond Sports Illustrated, other media outlets like BuzzFeed have also explored AI integration into their content strategies. While BuzzFeed has experimented with AI-generated quizzes and travel guides, concerns have arisen regarding the potential implications of widespread AI adoption in journalism, including the risk of content farms and challenges in the news media industry.

Despite the financial struggles faced by Sports Illustrated, which led to significant layoffs in recent years, the incorporation of AI remains a contentious issue. While AI technology offers cost-effective solutions compared to human writers, concerns persist about its impact on journalistic integrity and the quality of news content.

As the media landscape continues to evolve, some organizations like the New York Times and NBC have taken steps to regulate non-human generated content and combat disinformation. Conversely, The Guardian has expressed caution regarding the reliability of generative AI tools, emphasizing their commitment to upholding journalistic standards and utilizing AI exclusively for original journalism creation and distribution.

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Last modified: February 14, 2024
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