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Michael Schumacher's family to pursue legal action following fake AI-generated interview

Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher has not been seen publicly since 2013, when he suffered a severe brain injury during a skiing accident in Switzerland.

However, a German media outlet Die Aktuelle recently ran a front-page story claiming it had landed the first interview with the F1 legend.

 “No meagre, nebulous half-sentences from friends. But answers from him! By Michael Schumacher, 54!” the magazine wrote. After the “interview” with Schumacher was published in the magazine, though, it was revealed that the article had been generated via artificial intelligence.

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Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher of Germany and Mercedes GP attends the drivers’ press conference during previews to the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 14, 2011, in Shanghai, China.  ((Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images))

An AI program called charatcter.ai produced the article about Schumacher, and the piece included “quotes” about the legendary driver’s health status.

“I can with the help of my team actually stand by myself and even slowly walk a few steps,” one of the fake quotes read. 

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A spokesperson for the Schumacher family told ESPN that legal steps will be taken.

“My wife and my children were a blessing to me and without them I would not have managed it. Naturally they are also very sad, how it has all happened. They support me and are standing firmly at my side,” another false quote stated in the article.

Corinna and Michael Schumacher attend an event

Corinna and Michael Schumacher attend the GQ Men Of The Year 2010 award ceremony at Komische Oper on October 29, 2010, in Berlin, Germany.  (Photo by Toni Passig/Getty Images)

Since Schumacher’s devastating skiing accident, the family has gone to great lengths to safeguard his privacy. The state of his health has been a closely guarded secret. 

The German racer suffered a severe brain injury and was placed in a medically induced coma before he was eventually taken to the family’s Lake Geneva home.

In the Netflix documentary “Schumacher,” Corinna broke down in tears when she started talking about her husband’s condition.

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“Michael is here. Different, but he’s here, and that gives us strength, I find,” she said.

“We’re together. We live together at home. We do therapy. We do everything we can to make Michael better and to make sure he’s comfortable. And to simply make him feel our family, our bond. And no matter what, I will do everything I can. We all will.

“We’re trying to carry on as a family, the way Michael liked it and still does. And we are getting on with our lives. ‘Private is private’, as he always said. It’s very important to me that he can continue to enjoy his private life as much as possible. Michael always protected us, and now we are protecting Michael,” Corinna said.

Michael Schumacher of Germany at a press conference

Michael Schumacher of Germany and Mercedes GP attends the drivers’ press conference during previews to the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on March 22, 2012, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.   (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Schumacher initially retired from racing in 2006. He briefly returned to the sport in 2010 before stepping away for good in 2012. 

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Schumacher won five consecutive world titles from 2000 to 2004. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time. His son, Mick, is a reserve driver for Mercedes after his stint with Haas F1 came to an end.

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