Michael Schumacher’s family awarded €200,000 compensation after AI ‘interview’

Michael Schumacher’s family have been awarded €200,000 ($216,360) compensation from the publisher of a German tabloid magazine after the title printed an artificial intelligence (AI) generated ‘interview’ with the decorated Formula One star.

In April last year, Die Aktuelle ran a front-page splash with the image of the now-55-year-old with the headline, ‘”Michael Schumacher, the first interview”. An accompanying strapline read, “It sounded deceptively real”, but the article revealed AI had created the purported quotes.

The seven-time world champion was seriously injured in a skiing accident on holiday in the French Alps, back in December 2013, suffering a traumatic brain injury that required him to be put into an induced coma.

Since he returned home in September 2014, his family has carefully guarded his privacy with his full condition relatively unknown. Schumacher has not been seen in public since the tragic accident with only close relatives having contact with the former racing driver.

Further background to the Schumacher incident

On Wednesday (May 22), a family spokesperson confirmed the ruling of a Munich Labour Court judgment, which included a settlement with Funke media group, publishers of Die Aktuelle. No further comment was made.

That followed an apology to the family last April, while the editor of the magazine, Anne Hoffmann, was fired.

“This tasteless and misleading article should never have appeared. It in no way meets the standards of journalism that we, and our readers, expect,” said Bianca Pohlmann, managing director of Funke.

“As a result of the publication of this article, immediate personnel consequences will be drawn.

Schumacher won two of his Formula 1 titles with Benetton in 1994 and 1995, while he secured five in a row for Ferrari from 2000 to 2004. He shares his record of seven F1 world titles with Lewis Hamilton, who surpassed the former’s tally of 91 career race wins, in 2020.

Image credit: Martin King/Unsplash

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