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Irish newspaper apologizes after publishing a hoax article generated using AI

On May 14, Ruadhán Mac Cormaic, editor of The Irish Times, released a statement apologizing after the publication published an AI-generated article, in which it called out Irish women’s obsession with fake tan ‘problematic.’

In the statement, Cormaic said that they “had fallen victim to a deliberate and coordinated deception,” and had removed the article from the publication and initiated an ongoing review.

“We don’t take this lightly. It was a breach of the trust between The Irish Times and its readers, and we are genuinely sorry. The incident has highlighted a gap in our pre-publication procedures. We need to make them more robust – and we will,” he added while promising to adapt to the changes brought by AI technology.

The deleted opinion article published in The Irish Times on May 11, bylined by Adriana Acosta-Cortez, was said to be 80% generated by GPT-4, an AI technology that can generate, edit, and iterate words – including creative and technical writing.

Acosta-Cortez used a profile picture made by DALL-E, an AI technology that can create realistic images and art from a description.

A Twitter account with the identity of Acosta-Cortez tweeted criticizing the Irish Times for publishing the article.

According to the Guardian, the person who controls the Twitter account revealed to them via direct message that they were an Irish college student just wanting “to give my friends a laugh” and “to stir the sh*t” in the debate about identity politics.

They told the Guardian that The Irish Times’s apology sidestepped its decision to publish “an incendiary article with an extreme leftwing viewpoint” in pursuit of clicks.

“Some people have called me an alt-right troll but I don’t think that I am. I think that identity politics is an extremely unhelpful lens through which to interpret the world,” they said.


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