SI’s AI.

As inevitable as the tide.

Findings from Futurism suggest Sports Illustrated has been publishing AI-generated content and disguising it by including bylines and photos for authors that don’t exist.

The report, published Tuesday, revealed that a number of headshots from SI’s authors could be found on a website used to buy AI-generated headshots. Futurism continued digging for answers but found no evidence the writers in question actually existed outside of SI’s website.

Read the linked article, too. It makes it clearer that what’s happening here is that the people who own Sports Illustrated have taken churn and clickbait to their final, grim conclusions. Elaborate clickbait advertisements masquerading as fake articles are nothing new, as everyone reading this already knows; but it used to be that you needed to have a human actually write the clickbait. But no longer! Now an algorithm can produce the dull, yet barely comprehensible prose that camouflages the product links. There’ll be no need to hire the desperate college graduates who were willing to delude themselves that their prosaic piecework was really the first step to having a career in writing. The computer can do all the work — and, more importantly, it’ll never demand a raise.

No happy ending here, at least for the people who would normally have a job writing ‘regular’ fake articles for Sports Illustrated. Those folks will be on the wrong end of the automation line, when it finally solidifies itself. Which it will — I mean, sure, there are a lot of AI enthusiasts who insist that their toys will replace flesh-and-blood writers, very, very soon. They are both right, and wrong. I mean, they’re never going to replace me; they’ll need something actually both sapient, and creative for that to happen. But listicle writers?

…Yeah. Those sad sacks are hosed.

Moe Lane

PS: It’s not my fault, and I didn’t do anything to make things worse. I’m only saying what the situation is, as well as not into pretending that I’m worried about being personally affected by all this. I do wish anybody who is affected the best of luck, because they’re gonna need it.

3 thoughts on “SI’s AI.”

  1. It’s been the better part is two decades since SI hired on the basis of loving sports.
    Or rather, it’s been obvious for about two decades. The rot was almost certainly there earlier, just mitigated by editors that still gave a damn.

    It’s been a long time since I subscribed. Or cared.

    1. And their *defense*. Oh, my goodness. “What, no, that wasn’t *us*. That was a third party who produces ad copy that we *claim* as our own in return for money. *We* would never sink so far as to use AI.”

      The seer number of *layers* on their ass-covering is also impressive.
      – It totally wasn’t us. It was these other guys – Advon.
      – *Of course* we constantly monitor our third-party content generators in order to make sure they aren’t doing this kind of stuff.
      – Indeed, we were *already* investigating them when this whole thing went down.
      – Advon, in turn, is getting *their* content from somewhere *else*.
      – They *swear* to us that they totally have systems in place to prevent AI-gen and plagiarism.
      – But, well, they *do* allow their authors to use pen names to protect author privacy.
      – Of course, we know that “using pen names” is also totally naughty, and we strongly condemn it.
      – In the meantime, we’re removing all of those articles (and thus the most blatant evidence of our crimes) from the website while our internal investigation continues.
      – We’re also throwing Advon under the bus, completely… and apparently *regardless* of the results of the internal investigation.

      Like, this is not what it looks like when someone is actually telling the truth. This is what it looks like when you have a team of lawyers trying to stack as much plausible deniability as they possibly can on something in as many *ways* as they can because they *know* that if the truth actually came out (whatever it was), they’d take real damage from it.

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