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Sports Illustrated Faces Backlash Over AI-Generated Articles: Futurism Report Reveals



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Sports Illustrated, a prominent tech publisher, faces a wave of criticism following revelations that author headshots were sourced from an AI-generated image website, as reported by Futurism. The Sports Illustrated Union expressed sheer dismay, demanding adherence to fundamental journalistic standards, while the publisher’s owner disputed the accuracy of the report, initiating an internal investigation.

The controversy stemmed from the publisher’s licensing of content from Advon Commerce, a third-party company under the Arena Group overseeing Sports Illustrated. However, in response to the allegations, Sports Illustrated swiftly removed the contentious content and terminated its partnership with Advon Commerce, launching an internal probe.

In a statement, Arena Group highlighted their reliance on Advon Commerce for content licensing, emphasizing the latter’s assurance that all articles were authored and edited by humans. Yet, the use of pseudonyms to protect writers’ privacy led to the incorporation of AI-generated images and untraceable author names—a detail that remains a point of contention.

The Sports Illustrated Union strongly condemned these practices, affirming their stance on upholding journalistic integrity and authentic authorship, emphasizing the need for transparent, human-generated content. Arena Group defended Advon Commerce’s practices, citing their purported use of counter-plagiarism and anti-AI software.

This incident underscores broader concerns in the media landscape regarding the potential for generative AI to replace journalists and propagate misinformation. While some newsrooms have experimented with AI, issues surrounding errors in AI-generated articles and the transparency of their origin have drawn considerable attention.

Within Sports Illustrated, the report’s revelations incited shock and disappointment among staff, particularly amidst prior significant staff reductions within Arena Group. Mitch Goldich, a long-term editor at Sports Illustrated and union leader, vocalized deep disappointment, highlighting the damage inflicted on the credibility of hardworking human contributors.

The uproar led Goldich to rename his profile on X as “Mitch Goldich (human)” as a poignant assertion of the value of human-driven content creation.

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