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AI article announcing former NBA player’s death brands him ‘useless’

Brandon Hunter dies aged 42 (Getty Images)
Brandon Hunter dies aged 42 (Getty Images)

MSN took down an obituary for former NBA player Brandon Hunter published earlier this week after it called the basketball forward “useless.”

The obituary, first spotted by Futurism, was written by “Editor” and was titled “Brandon Hunter useless at 42.” Although it has not been confirmed by Microsoft, which owns the news aggregation site, reports are accusing the story of being generated by AI.

On top of the offensive headline, the writing of the article itself gets worse, as it is nonsensical and riddled with grammatical errors.

The first line reads: “Former NBA participant Brandon Hunter, who beforehand performed for the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, has handed away on the age of 42, as introduced by Ohio males’s basketball coach Jeff Boals on Tuesday.”

It continues, describing Hunter’s rise to fame as “a extremely regarded highschool” — one word — “basketball participant,” showcasing spelling errors and unusual phrasing.

The article says Hunter performed in “67 video games” across two seasons and achieved a “career-high of 17 factors in a recreation in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks.”

In reality, Hunter ​​collapsed at the end of a hot yoga session, those close to him confirmed earlier this week.

The article published on MSN about Brandon Hunter that has since been taken down (Wayback Machine / screengrab)
The article published on MSN about Brandon Hunter that has since been taken down (Wayback Machine / screengrab)

He was drafted in 2003 by the Boston Celtics, and later played for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The forward then played for different European teams, before retiring from the sport in 2013.

The article was pulled on Thursday. Microsoft has yet to formally apologise for the tasteless obituary.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement toThe Independent: “The accuracy of the content we publish from our partners is important to us, and we continue to enhance our systems to identify and prevent inaccurate information from appearing on our channels. The story in question has been removed.”

The indelicate obituary comes only a few years after over two dozen of MSN’s news homepage curators and editors were laid off in 2020; they were reportedly told that they were being replaced by artificial intelligence software, according toThe Guardian.