AI-Generated Obituary Sparks Outrage: MSN Faces Backlash for Offensive Content
Earlier this week, MSN found itself in the midst of a furious backlash after publishing an obituary for former NBA player Brandon Hunter. The obituary, which was swiftly taken down due to its offensive content, is believed to have possibly been generated by artificial intelligence (AI). Not only did the obituary feature a derogatory headline, but it also contained numerous nonsensical phrases and grammatical errors.
The article in question created a stir by referring to Brandon Hunter, a basketball forward, as useless in the headline. While there has been no official confirmation from Microsoft, the owner of MSN, regarding the use of AI in generating the content, reports strongly suggest this possibility.
The offensive headline was just the beginning of the issues with the article. The content itself was plagued with problems, starting with a sentence that included spelling mistakes and awkward phrasing. It referred to Hunter as an extremely regarded high school basketball player. To add further inaccuracy, the article claimed that Hunter played 67 video games over two seasons and achieved a career-high of 17 factors in a recreation in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks. In reality, Hunter tragically passed away after a hot yoga session.
Brandon Hunter was initially drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2003 and later played for the Sioux Falls Skyforce before pursuing his career with various European teams, ultimately retiring in 2013.
Following public outrage, MSN removed the obituary on Thursday. However, Microsoft is yet to formally apologize for the insensitive content.
In response to the controversy, a Microsoft spokesperson informed The Independent, The accuracy of the content we publish from our partners is important to us, and we continue to enhance our systems to identify and prevent inaccurate information from appearing on our channels. The story in question has been removed.
This incident once again brings to the forefront the sensitivity issue concerning AI-generated content. It also reminds us of the layoff of over two dozen MSN news homepage curators and editors in 2020, who were reportedly replaced by artificial intelligence software, as reported by The Guardian.
The backlash against MSN’s offensive obituary for Brandon Hunter underscores the challenges and risks associated with relying on AI technology for content generation. The incident serves as a stark reminder that AI, while capable of efficiency and speed, lacks the human touch needed to ensure accuracy and sensitivity in sensitive matters like obituaries.
As AI technology continues to advance, it is crucial for companies and platforms to strike a balance between automation and human oversight. While AI can assist in various areas of content creation, human judgment and editorial expertise remain essential for maintaining quality, ethics, and respect.