Michael Schumacher's Family Wins Settlement After Fake AI Interview

Corinna (left) and Mick (right) Schumacher. Getty
Corinna (left) and Mick (right) Schumacher. Getty

Last year, German magazine Die Aktuelle ran a purported interview with seven-time Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher. Of course, Schumacher has been recovering privately from a traumatic brain injury sustained during a skiing accident in 2013 and hasn't made a public appearance or interview since. So how did the magazine get an "interview" with the recovering F1 legend? By generating the entire thing with AI, and playing more than a little coy with that respect. The Schumacher family inevitably sued the publication, and both sides just reached a settlement.

According to Autosport, the settlement was reached with Funke media group, the parent company of Die Aktuelle, for $217,000 (200,000 euros).

The original article was advertised as an exclusive interview and featured AI-generated responses that claimed Schumacher was "much better than years ago. With the help of my team, I can even stand on my own again and even walk a few steps slowly." Cruelly, not only did Die Aktuelle avoid disclosing all of it was AI-generated until the end of the piece, but it also claimed that the AI's responses were so uncanny, it may have even been trained by Schumacher himself. Almost immediately after the magazine ran the issue, Funke apologized and unsurprisingly fired Die Aktuelle's editor-in-chief.


"This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared," said Funke managing director Bianca Pohlmann at the time. "As a result of the publication of this article, immediate personnel consequences will be drawn. Die Aktuelle editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann, who has held journalistic responsibility for the paper since 2009, will be relieved of her duties as of today."


The Schumacher family has been extremely private about Michael's recovery. While the family revealed some information in the 2021 Netflix documentary Schumacher, it refrained from sharing more specific details about the champ's state. You can imagine the shock his loved ones felt over a fake interview that claimed Michael was walking on his own.

In media, artificial intelligence is typically depicted as either a planet-saving or planet-destroying technology. In reality, though, people seem to enjoy using it for petty, gross, money-making purposes like this. Thankfully, the ordeal is over, and hopefully it'll dissuade other unscrupulous outlets from trying similarly tasteless tricks.

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