Sports Illustrated used to publish essays by Kurt Vonnegut and Frank Deford. Now it publishes uncannily bland drivel by AI-generated personas, a fact revealed by Futurism in an exposé. Moreover, its response to the article implies that it has outsourced editorial to a content farm and it has no direct knowledge of who or what wrote it.
The AI authors' writing often sounds like it was written by an alien; one Ortiz article, for instance, warns that volleyball "can be a little tricky to get into, especially without an actual ball to practice with."
According to a second person involved in the creation of the Sports Illustrated content who also asked to be kept anonymous, that's because it's not just the authors' headshots that are AI-generated. At least some of the articles themselves, they said, were churned out using AI as well.
"The content is absolutely AI-generated," the second source said, "no matter how much they say that it's not."
The problem is that this works: writing for machines, not humans, is where it's at. On Twitter, one "Jake Ward"—seemingly human, but who knows?—is getting a lot of attention for his thread (complete with instructions!) on how he executed an "SEO heist" on another site by researching its search profile and flooding the web with AI-generated clones of its articles, to massive success.
The pressing question: why are advertisers paying to appear against this material? The answer, simply put, is that Google is sending people to look at it. If you want to be read by a human, forst you must write for the machine.