Another publication accused of serving up AI-generated crap

Futurism found Sports Illustrated product reviewers who appear to be generated by AI.

AI can generate images and haikus, and help streamline workflows. But oftentimes, relying entirely on AI results in, well, garbage. It’s not AI’s fault, but it is yours if you’re trying to pass off embarrassing AI-generated crap as human-produced content.

An orange cat and a black cat hang around a green dumpster. Two robot hands reach toward the dumpster.

And yet…

What happened?

Futurism has been digging hard into AI-generated “journalism,” and its latest target is Sports Illustrated.

Actual human journalists at Futurism found Drew Ortiz, a product reviewer on SI’s website, had no other internet presence and that his profile pic came from a website offering AI-generated headshots.

Anonymous sources told Futurism that Drew was one of several phony authors and that the content, poorly written and full of formatting errors, was AI-generated.

SI parent company The Arena Group said the content came from a third-party company, AdVon Commerce, which assured them it was human-produced — though some authors used pen names.

Arena has since removed all AdVon content and stopped working with the company. Hmm!

Why it matters

It impacts:

  • Journalists, who could be getting paid to actually review products and write articles.
  • Everyone being served AI-generated garbage instead of trustworthy content — especially annoying when websites receive kickbacks for purchases made using affiliate links.

But it’s also another yikes…

… for journalism, an industry that’s slowly degraded into listicles and reblogs as publications are bought, sold, restructured (i.e., layoffs), and optimized for profit.

May we all collectively shudder and recall “pivot to video,” which turned out to be bullshit.

AI gives such companies a new tool, and while it can be helpful, it often lacks context and sometimes hallucinates — especially disconcerting considering how quickly misinformation can spread.

How’s that going?

  • Arena previously published a story in Men’s Journal about low testosterone that, per one expert, contained 18 errors. It argued that AI had helped, but used archival articles written by humans.
  • Microsoft retracted an AI-generated travel article that suggested Ottawa tourists visit a food bank “on an empty stomach.”
  • BuzzFeed’s AI-assisted travel articles are repetitive and… bad.

Be careful what you read out there. And if it sounds weird, maybe Google the author to see if they even exist.

Topics: Ai Journalism Media

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