F1 Legend Michael Schumacher's Family To Sue Over Controversial AI-Generated Interview

Formula One legend Michael Schumacher's family is planning to sue a German magazine following a claimed interview with him that was actually generated by an AI. On the cover of the edition that was published on April 15, the weekly celebrity tabloid Die Aktuelle plastered a picture of the F1 racer with the headline "Michael Schumacher, the first interview." A machine-translated version of the sub-head says "it sounds deceptively real." The magazine further claimed that it was not a quote compilation from family and friends, but statements from the Ferrari icon himself.

The magazine only disclosed much later that the interview was the result of an AI-fueled interaction, and not with Schumacher himself. Soon after the faux interview was published, fans took to social media to lambast the German magazine's stunt. The AI used for the interview was allegedly Character.AI, a language model developed by the folks behind Google's own conversational model called LaMDA. 

After the online ruckus stirred by the chatbot interview, a spokesperson for the Schumacher family told ESPN that a lawsuit against the publisher was inbound. Schumacher, who jointly holds the record for the most Formula One championships under his belt alongside British driver Lewis Hamilton, hasn't been seen in public since 2013 after a skiing accident. He is reportedly under private medical care closely guarded by his family in Switzerland

An AI-pocalypse of misinformation

The AI-fabricated Schumacher interview won't be the first time that the world of celebrity and cutting-edge AI has clashed. Just a few days ago, Joe Rogan published an entire podcast with an AI-generated simulation of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. In 2022, Rogan did something similar with an AI-generated interview of deceased Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. An AI-generated track featuring Canadian rapper Drake recently caused a heated debate in the music industry, which eventually led to Universal Music Group asking Spotify and Apple Music to yank it off their playlist.

But it appears that fake interviews, like the recent one with Schumacher, are just the start of a misinformation apocalypse. And that's primarily because the AI tech used to pull off such stunts is publicly available and doesn't need much technical know-how. Character.AI, for example, lets you talk with an AI version of any major personality you can think of, and it's available out there in the wild.

The Bing Chat system, which is powered by OpenAI's GPT-4 model, has a hidden celebrity mode that lets you joke around with celebrities like Kevin Hart or talk about stunts with Tom Cruise. Even mainstream publications like CNET and BuzzFeed have embraced AI for content generation — and sometimes without proper disclosure, like Die Aktuelle and its interview with Schumacher. Regulatory bodies are already on the fence about such AI abuse and are scurrying to draft apt regulations.