Sports Illustrated mounted a robust defense of its publication of alleged AI-generated articles earlier this week, blaming it on a third party.
That doesn’t mean it will get a free pass.
This is no time for cheap shots — an episode like this could happen to any publisher. But here is a sample of of the criticism Sports Illustrated is getting.
"This practice marks a significant shift from the magazine's past accolades in sports journalism,” says Jim Kaskade, CEO of CEO of Conversica. “The use of AI-generated content and personas, without proper disclosure, undermines journalistic ethics and erodes reader trust.”
Kaskade continues, “Such undisclosed AI content is viewed as an affront to media ethics. The implications of this situation are profound, especially for journalism's credibility and the ethical use of AI in content creation. It raises critical questions about transparency, the authenticity of online content, and the evolving role of AI in media."
Here's another view.
“The news regarding Sports Illustrated publishing articles that were AI-generated yet seemingly written by humans, including headshots that turned out to be AI-generated, points to one crucial need: transparency,” says Alon Yamin, co-founder and CEO of Copyleaks.
Yamin adds, “More importantly, the fact that Sports Illustrated revealed that the AI-written articles came from a third party that assured they were human-written only spotlights how easy it is for AI to slide under the radar unchecked. That’s why the more advanced GenAI technology gets, the greater the need for tools to help identify AI-generated content and provide full transparency to ensure responsible AI adoption and protect IP and copyrights.”
The Arena Group, the owner of Sports Illustrated, had issued a statement, saying, “The articles in question were product reviews and were licensed content from an external, third-party company, AdVon Commerce.”
The statement continues, AdVon has assured us that all of the articles in question were written and edited by humans.
“However, we have learned that AdVon had writers use a pen or pseudo name in certain articles to protect author privacy — actions we don’t condone — and we are removing the content while our internal investigation continues and have since ended the partnership.”
Whatever happened, there is no reason for publishers to spurn AI.
"The way things are going, 90% of all news will be AI generated,” says Talal Shamoon, CEO of Intertrust Technologies. “It’ll be better, higher quality and more to the point. The remaining 10% will be written by high quality reporters writing about high quality topics. The trend started years ago with the web, and standards have shifted and changed. It’s not good or bad, just a sign of the times."