The Irish Times newspaper has apologised for publishing an opinion article created using artificial intelligence, saying it had been targeted as part of a “deliberate deception”.
The respected daily ran the hoax article on Thursday titled “Irish women’s obsession with fake tan is problematic”. It became the second most-read item on the newspaper’s website.
Bosses removed the article on Friday and said on Sunday its publication “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,” editor Ruadhan Mac Cormaic wrote in a statement.
“It has also underlined one of the challenges raised by generative AI for news organisations. We, like others, will learn and adapt,” he added.
The removed article, which disingenuously argued the use of fake tan by Irish women was an issue of cultural appropriation, had been submitted under the byline of a fictitious Ecuadorian writer called Adriana Acosta-Cortez.
Speaking to The Guardian newspaper in the UK, an individual controlling a Twitter account under the same name said they had used the AI language tool GPT-4 to create roughly 80 percent of the article.
The hoaxer said a profile picture used for the opinion piece, which was increasingly questioned by readers as the article provoked debate on the radio and social media, was created using the image generator Dalle-E 2.
They claimed they were an Irish college student who had submitted the article to create debate around the extremity of discourse around identity politics and “give my friends a laugh”.
The Irish Times said the author had “engaged with the relevant editorial desk — taking suggestions for edits on board, offering personal anecdotes and supplying links to relevant research”.