Sports fake AI Chatbot

Futurism said that articles published in ffSports Illustrated were credited to phony authors created by a fake AI. Among the writers are “Drew Ortiz,” who has “lived outside most of his life,” and “Sora Tanaka,” who is “a fitness guru and enjoys experimenting with different foods and beverages.”

An individual participating in the content production process informed Futurism that there are “a lot” of identical bogus writers when the outlet discovered the related author headshots for sale on an AI-generated picture website. A representative for The Arena Group, which publishes Sports Illustrated, Rachael Fink, refuted the claim that the pieces are fake AI produced.

drew ortiz fake AI
“Drew Ortiz” grew up in a farmhouse. His face is also for sale on an AI headshot website.

Following Futurism’s communication with The Arena Group, the impostor writers vanished. A notice that states, in part, “This content is created by a third party,” appears on stories with bylines written by AI. “This content was not created by the editorial staff of Sports Illustrated.”

I had previously come across a similar notice on items published by Reviewed, a consumer reviews website owned by Gannett Publisher, back in October. The Verge was informed at the time by Gannett spokesperson Lark-Marie Anton that the stories had been produced by a third party company and that Gannett had verified the content wasn’t artificial intelligence (AI) despite the site staff’s accusation that their employer had published clearly AI-generated content.

There appears to be a single business responsible for the peculiar articles on Sports Illustrated and Reviewed, regardless of whether fake AI is involved.

The disclaimer that appeared on those reports stated that AdVon Commerce, a firm, developed the maybe-AI-maybe-not-AI assessments for Gannett. Gannett claimed to have worked with ASR Group Holdings, a name that AdVon Commerce also goes by according to job advertisements. AdVon markets itself as providing “ML / AI solutions for E Commerce” on LinkedIn.

AdVon is also linked in the Sports Illustrated story. “Sora Tanaka,” a writer for Sports Illustrated AI, has the email address listed as her contact information on her author profile. That email account appears to be associated with many other authors who are credited on other websites that are owned by The Arena Group, according to a brief Google search. Several of them seem to be legitimate persons with LinkedIn accounts; they all claim to be employed by AdVon Commerce.

Before publishing, I contacted AdVon to inquire about the company’s collaboration with The Arena Group and the authenticity of its writers, but I never received a response.

AdVon contributed to the articles, according to Fink, a spokesman for The Arena Group, who also stated that the relationship was “in the midst of a review when [the AI-generated] allegations were raised.” AdVon guaranteed The Arena Group, according to Fink, that all articles were composed and revised by people.

In an email, Fink stated, “But we have discovered that AdVon had writers use a pen or pseudo name in some articles to protect author privacy — actions we don’t support. We are eliminating the content while our internal investigation is ongoing and have since terminated the partnership.”

Is AdVon creating reams of material for publishers using AI and passing it off as human-written content? Or do magazines simply not give a damn? In any case, it’s easy to recognize and somewhat uncomfortable when pointed out.