An Irish newspaper has apologized to its readers after an opinion piece on its website was discovered to be a fake, generated in part with artificial intelligence, according to the Guardian. Notably, last week, the Irish Times published an online editorial piece with the headline ”Irish women’s addiction with artificial tan is troubling.”
Adriana Acosta-Cortez, a 29-year-old Ecuadorian health worker living in north Dublin, was identified as the author. The author examined the widespread usage of artificial tan in Ireland, claiming it was a kind of cultural appropriation and disrespectful to people of color in the piece.
According to the Independent, the essay was the second-most-read article in the paper and sparked controversy on radio and social media. Several social media users also questioned whether the writer’s photo and name belonged to a real person. Many speculated that the byline image of a blue-haired Latina woman was generated by artificial intelligence.
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The article was withdrawn the same day and is now permanently gone from the website. Later, the newspaper issued a statement in which it explained the situation to its readers. Editor Ruadhan Mac Cormaic said they had been tricked by the author after falling prey to a “deliberate and coordinated deception.”
According to the Guardian report, the person used GPT-4 for creating roughly 80% of the article and the image generator Dall-E 2 to create a profile photo of a journalist. “It was a violation of trust between The Irish Times and its readers, and we sincerely apologize. The incident exposed a flaw in our pre-publication protocols. We need to strengthen them, and we will,” the publisher said.