Sports Illustrated AI writers’ profiles deleted following backlash

Have you read something published by AI?

Sports Illustrated AI-generated author profiles as AI-written e-commerce articles.

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News publication Sports Illustrated has come under fire for reportedly using AI to generate articles and the author profiles that supposedly wrote them. Parent company The Arena Group has swiftly addressed the allegations, confirming that a number of now-deleted articles were AI-generated, but that they were not generated in-house.

Sports Illustrated publishers terminate partnership with AdVon Commerce

Sports Illustrated’s parent company, The Arena Group, removed several articles on Monday, after being questioned by Futurism about the legitimacy of its author profiles. A spokesperson for the group told CNN that a third-party company called AdVon Commerce was in fact the one that generated these articles, seemingly without SI being able to tell that it was AI-generated content.

“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,” assures the spokesperson.

The content in question was product reviews. Despite none of the authors in question having social media outside of the SI website, or any other indication of their existence, AdVon refutes these claims.

✓ Steve says

Google rolls out ‘Helpful Content’ algorithm updates

It’s no coincidence that Google has recently undergone multiple significant updates with regards to its search algorithm. Recent ‘Helpful Content’ updates are prioritizing news publications such as PC Guide which can prove their own authenticity.

Author profiles like my own help to indicate human-written content to Google, with well-cited metadata, and that photo I took of myself in our in-house video studio. Many fun livestreams were had in “Studio 2”. Some PC Guide lore for you there.

Google officials can check out @pcguide_official on TikTok and YouTube for proof!

The spokesperson paints a picture of a pro-active front, continuing that Sports Illustrated “continually monitor our partners and were in the midst of a review when these allegations were raised. AdVon has assured us that all of the articles in question were written and edited by humans.”

Which articles were written by Sports Illustrated AI writers?

As published in Monday’s report from Futurism, several AdVon-written e-commerce articles were accompanied by AI-generated headshots from a website that sells them, such as the now-infamous (and fictional) Drew Ortiz. Such images are easily generated by any AI image generator such as Midjourney or DALL-E 3 (Stylized DALL·E 3).

Drew Ortiz, an AI-generated character previously used on an author profile.
Drew Ortiz, an AI-generated character previously used on an author profile.

By contrast, the editorial staff of the Sports Illustrated Union are reportedly “horrified” by this affront to transparency and basic journalistic standards. “If true, these practices violate everything we believe in about journalism,” say workers of the SI Union. “We deplore being associated with something so disrespectful to our readers.”