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A Message Regarding Artificial Intelligence in Sports - From a Disgruntled Human Sports Writer

Artificial Intelligence, otherwise known as AI, is quickly becoming a large piece of our art and media lexicon. Simply put, you produce AI pieces by typing in keywords, questions, or phrases into a sort of request box, where it loads that information and generates your request. AI can answer questions, produce pictures, videos, music, and 'the lot'. The software that generates AI media includes ChatGPT, Imagine AI, DeepAI, among others. To say that this new, up-and-coming software is generating waves and a lot of controversy at that, would be an understatement. Fake images and clips of celebrities have surfaced. AI is being said to "replace" human-created art and media, fake news stories are being generated by AI, and many more controversies have emerged. The latest one has affected the world College Football Dawgs call home.

The Futurism Article

In a recent article put out by Futurism, Maggie Harrison details how major sports news media outlet, Sports Illustrated, allegedly bought and created fake AI-generated aliases that would write articles for their website and magazine. Aliases, such as Drew Ortiz, even had "his" own writer profile on "The only problem? Outside of Sports Illustrated, Drew Ortiz doesn't seem to exist. He has no social media presence and no publishing history. And even more strangely, his profile photo on Sports Illustrated is for sale on a website that sells AI-generated headshots, where he's described as "a neutral white young-adult male with short brown hair and blue eyes." Harrison details this in her article. When asked for comment on this issue, the alleged AI writers disappeared from the SI page without a trace. No written pieces, no writer profiles, nothing to be found. The Arena Group, the parent company of Sports Illustrated, stated they had conducted their investigation into the matter and asked the company they had allegedly gotten these aliases from, AdVon, if these were AI-generated. According to Sports Illustrated, AdVon has yet to comment on the matter, but Sports Illustrated states these "writers" were obtained through a third party. Nothing about them being real or not has been cleared up. You can find more of the Futurism article here.

Not JUST SI...

Not only is Sports Illustrated potentially responsible for using AI-generated content and passing it off as legitimate sports media, created by a human, but ESPN has also been caught using AI to create content. Per Deadspin and other outlets, ESPN used AI to generate a fake postgame interview from NBA player Damian Lillard, leading to them being the subject of similar controversy. You can watch the interview below:

Yet, we see no apology from either organization for their abject disrespect to the art of authentic sports journalism. Journalism was never meant to be computer generated, real humans telling real stories matter far more than either of these companies know. People don't want a cheap, low-effort knock-off that has no emotion, no human touch, and no substance to it. It's why personalities like Stuart Scott, Chris Berman, Dan Patrick, and others are so popular. Plain and simple, to have two of perhaps the biggest sports media outlets be this lazy, and openly disrespectful, to not just their fans, but to their human writers and content producers, is incredibly discouraging and disappointing. It's a big reason these companies' viewership numbers are declining, they've gotten complacent and visibly careless with their efforts. They see sports as a money grab. The bigwigs at these companies aren't truly passionate about the authenticity real journalists bring to these athletes and fans.

100% Authentic, 100% Human

Here at College Football Dawgs, we are 100% human. Real stories, real opinions, real people, and real fans of what we produce content about, which is what makes this site so special. The blood, sweat, tears, passion, and love that are put into every article, every podcast, and every piece of content we put out is 100% authentic and 100% real. We love college football with a passion unlike any other. Faking what we do is impossible, at least without looking lazy, apathetic, and cheap. Nobody can do journalism better than a real human being. AI can't cover something as human as sport like a human can. We recognize this and stand by it, and it is an absolute shame others don't, especially those so large and influential, like Sports Illustrated and ESPN. My heart breaks for the legitimate writers and content producers of these formerly well thought of outlets who have had their work tossed aside for cheap computer knock-offs. It only makes the layoffs that happened with ESPN look that much worse, frankly speaking. The Sports Illustrated Writer's Union came out with a statement regarding the issue, shown below.

State of Artificial Intelligence in Sports:

As you can see, the writers of Sports Illustrated, much like those whom ESPN laid off, were blindsided and heartbroken by the recent news that their work was discredited and tossed aside. As a sports writer, I share their pain and reiterate that the human touch in journalism is so incredibly important. Nobody knows the human experience like a real human being. Artificial Intelligence in sports could be a great tool if used properly and with discretion, however when used in ways such as this, in ways that are slaps in the face to human expression, storytelling, and emotion, it shows that it can be used for intent that completely discredit and disrespect the human experience. Support outlets that put effort into their content, that see it from the human perspective, that are 100% genuine and 100% authentic. From local to national, this is imperative and needed in times like these.

Sincerely, a pissed-off, human sports journalist.


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