One of Michael Schumacher's former teammates has blasted a magazine article that claimed to have an exclusive interview with the stricken F1 legend, but turned out to be an artificial intelligence ruse. German publication 'Die Aktuelle' plastered Schumacher's face on the front cover of their magazine last month, writing: “No meagre, nebulous half-sentences from friends. But answers from him! By Michael Schumacher, 54!”
As it turned out, the 'interview' had been generated by an artificial intelligence app, in what was seemingly a look at how dangerous and deceptive 'AI' can be. The fake interview was widely condemned, leading to Schumacher's family launching legal action and the magazine's editor quitting.
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This week, Schumacher's former teammate-turned-TV commentator Johnny Herbert spoke out about the furore and ripped into the magazine. “That German magazine interview was appalling. This is the modern, mad world of AI and how dangerous it can be," Herbert told 'Ice 36'. “That was a prime example of using it in completely the wrong way.”
Herbert, who was Schumacher's partner at the now-defunct Benetton team in 1994 and 1995, also spoke out about the 'frustrating' situation regarding his mysterious condition. Schumacher's family are notoriously private and rarely provide any updates or information to the media or fans.
The Ferrari legend suffered devastating head injuries in a skiing accident in the French Alps in 2013. Another former teammate in Eddie Jordan recently revealed how Schumacher's son Mick had said his father is "there but not there."
“I can understand the fascination with Michael because it is a story that has not had an ending yet," Herbert said. “There is an endless fascination about Michael. I don’t have any contact with the family. It is all kept very tight.”
Quotes from the fake interview with Schumacher included: “My life has completely changed since [the accident]. That was a horrible time for my wife, my children and the whole family. I was so badly injured that I lay for months in a kind of artificial coma, because otherwise my body couldn’t have dealt with it all. I’ve had a tough time but the hospital team has managed to bring me back to my family.”
Michael Schumacher's family notoriously private
It's not the first time 'Die Aktuelle' has landed in hot water for exploiting the Schumacher family and the sad situation, with the magazine pulling another nefarious stunt in 2014. The magazine had a photo of Schumacher and wife Corinna on the front cover with the title ‘Awake’, suggesting an apparent breakthrough for the stricken star. However, the article actually focused on individuals who have woken up from a coma in the past, as opposed to Schumacher himself.
Corinna has imposed a strict 'family only' rule in terms of the people who are allowed to visit her husband. In 2021 she spoke publicly for the first time in a Netflix documentary, revealing why she wants to keep Schumacher's condition so private.
"'Private is private’, as he always said. It’s very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible,” Corinna said. “Michael always protected us and now we are protecting Michael.
"What he really didn’t like was the press, the people, all the hype around him. That’s not what he wanted. He wanted to do the sport. Michael is very suspicious. He always has been, during the initial period. Until he thinks he knows someone or can trust them, then he opens up completely.”
The german magazine 'Die Aktuelle' published an exclusive interview with Michael Schumacher, which turned out to be AI generated.
This is just disrespectful and embarrasing.
A spokesperson told ESPN that the Schumacher's will take legal action against the german magazine. #F1
— Ahmet Cir (@AhmetCirF1) April 19, 2023
This is disgusting. I hope the Schumacher’s destroy them. https://t.co/Qvtg5VKknI
— VF1🏁 (@TheVFCastro) April 19, 2023
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