Skip to main content

Chatbot-generated Schumacher ‘interview’ leads to editor’s dismissal

A magazine editor has learned the hard way about the ethical limits of using generative AI after she was fired for running an “interview” with F1 motor racing legend Michael Schumacher using quotations that were actually from a chatbot.

Seven-time F1 world champion Schumacher has been out of the public eye since 2013 when he sustained severe head injuries in a skiing accident during a vacation in France.

The German tabloid magazine, Die Aktuelle, showcased the article on a recent front page with a photo of the former motor racing champion and the headline: “Michael Schumacher, The First Interview, World Sensation,” together with a much smaller strapline saying: “It sounds deceptively real.”

It emerged in the article that the quotations had been generated by, an AI chatbot similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, which have gained much attention in recent months for their versatility and their impressive ability to converse in a human-like way.

In Die Aktuelle’s “interview,” Schumacher, or in fact the chatbot, talked about his family life and health.

“My wife and my children were a blessing to me and without them I would not have managed it,” the chatbot, speaking as Schumacher, said. “Naturally they are also very sad, how it has all happened.”

Schumacher’s family intends to take legal action against the publication, according to a BBC report.

The magazine’s publisher, Funke, has apologized for running the article.

“Funke apologizes to the Schumacher family for reporting on Michael Schumacher in the latest issue of Die Aktuelle,” it said in a statement.

“As a result of the publication of this article … Die Aktuelle editor-in-chief Anne Hoffmann, who has been responsible for journalism for the newspaper since 2009, will be relieved of her duties as of today.”

Bianca Pohlmann, managing director of Funke magazines, said in the statement: “This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared. It in no way corresponds to the standards of journalism that we — and our readers — expect from a publisher like Funke.”, launched in September last year, lets you “chat” with celebrities, historical figures, and fictional characters, or even ones you created.

That may be fine in the privacy of your own home, but taking it a step further and publishing an article based on the chatbot’s responses is clearly a huge risk.

As generative AI continues to improve and edge ever more into our lives, more missteps like this are to be expected, though hopefully, Die Aktuelle’s blunder may prompt publishers to think twice about how they utilize content created by a chatbot.

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Best Prime Day Apple deals in 2024: AirPods, MacBooks, iPads
Best Prime Day Deals

Prime Day 2024 is almost over. If you've been holding off buying an Apple product until some great Prime Day deals, then you'll be happy to know that this is your sign, and now is the time. Even better, it seems that Apple and other retailers are pulling out the stops when it comes to Apple's products, as we're seeing quite a few great deals across the board. We've collected some of our favorite deals below, but if you'd like to check out a few more options, be sure to check out these Prime Day MacBook deals, Prime Day smartwatch deals, and Prime Day headphones deals.
Today's best Apple deals

Amazon Prime Day 2024 is scheduled for July 16 and 17. We've rounded up our favorite Apple deals that are still available, but you're going to have to hurry with your purchase because we're not sure how much time is remaining on these offers. There is no guarantee they will last until midnight on Wednesday.

Read more
Best Prime Day laptop deals in 2024: Surface Pro, Razer, HP, Dell
Best Prime Day Deals

Prime Day is almost over, so if you've been looking for laptop deals, now is the time to make the purchase. We're seeing some great Prime Day deals on laptops, with some of them constituting significant discounts. Pretty much all the big brands have some sort of discount on them, including HP, Dell, Samsung, and Asus, and you can even find some excellent MacBook Prime Day deals, which is always nice to see. We've collected some of our favorite laptop deals below, but it's always worth checking out some of our other favorite roundups, such as these Prime Day 2-in-1 laptop deals and Prime Day gaming laptop deals.

Today's best laptop deals
Prime Day officially runs from July 16 to July 17. That means most of the deals you're seeing today won't be around tomorrow. There is always the chance something will sell out today, too. Deals also end on a whim. If you see something today, the smart play is to buy it now.

Read more
Best Prime Day MacBook deals in 2024: Air, M1, M2, M3
Best Prime Day Deals

It's the second day of Prime Day, and it is already shaping up to be filled with some amazing Prime Day deals on a large variety of MacBook configurations, whether you're going for a Macbook Pro or a MacBook Air. To that end, we've rounded up some of our favorite deals for you below, although if you're willing to go outside the Apple ecosystem, these Prime Day laptop deals are worth checking out, too. On the other hand, if you want to expand your Apple ecosystem, then you may want to check out these iPad Prime Day deals, AirPods Prime Day deals or these Apple Prime Day deals as well.
Today's best MacBook deals

Amazon Prime Day has started, and it will run through July 16 and July 17 with MacBook deals. We've rounded our favorite picks below -- you should know that these prices may go lower as the event goes on, but they could also sell out completely.

Read more