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Former NBA player Brandon Hunter recently died unexpectedly. While that’s tragic in itself, there was insult added to injury thanks to the use of AI to generate an article about the player and his passing. During his career, Hunter played for two seasons and participated in 67 games. He spent time with the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics, and then coached and became involved in sports management. He also dabbled in real estate, and the news of his death came as a shock to many.
In the AI-generated article’s headline, Hunter was deemed “useless.” The article also went on to say that the player “performed in 67 video games” and “handed away.” Naturally, readers were quick to condemn the article, claiming that AI should never be used to write an obituary, which was apparently not even proofread before being published. Microsoft has posted AI-created content on MSN before, and it was also poorly written and criticized, but it wasn’t nearly as egregious as this latest blunder.
The article has since been taken down, but that hasn’t stopped the anger and frustration many readers have expressed as they question why it was published in the first place. Hunter was just 42 years old, and AI-generated gibberish about his passing has detracted from the tragedy of dying at such a young age. Upset readers want to see companies like Microsoft throttle back on AI usage and continue to pay writers to provide quality material, especially where sensitive issues are concerned.
In 2020, the journalistic team at Microsoft that was responsible for vetting MSN content was fired. Since that time, articles about mermaids and Bigfoot have been published, along with a recent Ottawa travel guide that suggested tourists visit a food bank. One of Microsoft’s senior directors, Jeff Jones, stated at the time of the Ottawa article that AI wasn’t being used to create content. In light of this latest fiasco with Brandon Hunter’s passing, however, it’s very difficult to see how there could be any other explanation for where this kind of content is coming from.
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