An Irish daily newspaper apologized to its readers after it unknowingly published an article by a guest writer who had used artificial intelligence (AI) to pen the piece and their identity.
In a statement from the Irish Times on May 14, the publication said it was a victim of “a deliberate and coordinated deception.” The editor of the publication, Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, acknowledged the need for stronger pre-publication controls and that:
“It has also underlined one of the challenges raised by generative AI for news organisations.”
The piece was initially published on the morning of May 11, regarding the use of fake tans by Irish women from the perspective of a writer under the name of Adriana Acosta-Cortez, who was described as a “young immigrant woman in Ireland.”
According to Mac Cormaic, the so-called author engaged with the editorial desk and offered research and personal anecdotes. However, it was shortly uncovered that the piece and the byline image were “at least in part” created via generative AI.
The profile for the writer on Twitter reposted a link to the now-removed piece via the internet archive. In another tweet, they called out the Irish Times saying it needs a “better screening process.”
Link to the now-removed fake tan article https://t.co/dsUX7iJnmp
— Adriana Acosta-Cortez (@ecuadorian_adri) May 14, 2023
While the actual identity behind the profile of Adriana Acosta-Cortez has yet to be understood, users on Twitter commented on the post calling the hoax a “solid move” and congratulating the profile on “exposing” the periodical.
One user said he “can’t in good faith ever read the IT after this.”
The Irish Times is not the only publication to recently come under scrutiny for AI-related content.
On April 14, a German magazine called Die Aktuelle released “the first interview!” with race car driver Michael Schumacher since a serious brain injury in 2013. However, it was quickly uncovered that the interview was generated by AI and the publication was promptly subject to legal action from Schumacher’s family.
A Wall Street Journal reporter recently used AI to “clone” herself with the ability to fool both her bank and close relatives.