MSN publishes 'useless' AI-generated Brandon Hunter obituary

Occurred: August 2023

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An AI-generated article published by Microsoft that was meant to pray tribute to a deceased NBA player called him ‘useless’, prompting widespread criticism and ridicule.

Headlined 'Brandon Hunter useless at 42', the 'offensive', 'incomprehensible', and 'incoherent' MSN article also said Hunter had been 'handed away on the age of 42, described his on-field position as 'a ahead', and claimed he had played in 67 NBA 'video games'.

Microsoft took down the story, refused to apologise, and deflected the blame onto its Portuguese content syndication partner 'Race Track'. 

In May 2020, the technology company replaced the jobs of dozens of journalists and editors running its Microsoft News and MSN sites with artificial intelligence, swiftly resulting in a high-profile racial mix-up.


Operator: Microsoft/MSN
Developer: Race Track
Country: USA; Portugal
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Generate text
Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning; Reinforcement learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: September 2023
Last updated: November 2023