As Originality.Ai reported on LinkedIn, Sports Illustrated, a renowned sports media outlet, has come under scrutiny for featuring content attributed to “fake” authors, sparking suspicions of AI-generated material.  This discovery has sent shockwaves through the journalism world, raising questions about the growing role of artificial intelligence in content creation.

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Key Takeaways

  • An article in Sports Illustrated, suspected of being written by AI, was analyzed by Originality.ai, showing a 100% probability of AI usage.
  • The Arena Group, which owns Sports Illustrated, reportedly engaged in ‘parasite SEO’, a method where reputable domains host content mainly for ranking purposes.
  •  A broader analysis of major publishers indicates that nearly 46% are incorporating AI into their content creation, signifying a significant shift in the industry.

The sports media giant Sports Illustrated recently came under the spotlight for its suspected use of AI writers. An analysis by Originality.ai of one of its articles, flagged by Futurism, confirmed these suspicions. The tool detected a full 100% likelihood that the content was AI-generated, raising questions about the authenticity and journalistic integrity of AI-written articles.

AcademicHelp’s Analysis

We at AcademicHelp also decided to check the Sports Illustrated piece using an AI detector of our own. We decided to review the introduction paragraph as well as all the other parts of the body text. Our Free AI Detector proved once again that the beginning of the post was created with the Help of AI, marking it as potentially 99.88% AI-generated.

Free AI Detector at AcademicHelp checks Sports Illustrated Article
AI detection results for introduction paragraph of the Sports Illustrated article (click to see a bigger picture)

As we analyzed the rest of the article, we found that there were other parts created with AI as well. In general, the article had 33.72% of content potentially being AI-generated.

Free AI Detector at AcademicHelp checks Sports Illustrated Article
AI detection results for the rest of the Sports Illustrated article (click to see a bigger picture)

AcademicHelp took a close look at these results. Turned out, that aside from some generic-sounding sentences, there were whole paragraphs of text that were marked as “Likely to be AI content”. These parts were:

  • The first paragraph called “Wilson Soft Play Volleyball – Best Overall”
  • The “Color” section of the paragraph “Things to Consider Before Buying a Full-Size Volleyball”
  • And the last part of the article titled “Full-Size Volleyball Price Range”

Even though some may argue that AO detection is not fool-proof itself, these results still indicate that modern publishing has a trend for using AI-generated content at least in some bits of articles. 

The Popularization of Parasite SEO

This situation largely highlights the existence of a technique known as ‘parasite SEO’, used by The Arena Group, the parent company of Sports Illustrated. 

The strategy involves publishing content on well-established domains to leverage their authority for better search rankings. The focus here is less on the quality or originality of content and more on its ability to rank well on search engines.

A Broader Study

Moving beyond Sports Illustrated, Originality AI’s investigation extends to other major web publishers. Companies like Valnet, Cande Nast, Red Ventures, and DotDashMeredith are part of that analysis. 

Preliminary findings suggest that AI writing is not just a one-off instance but a growing trend in the news sector, with 46% of major publishers utilizing AI for their articles. Out of 16 major companies studied, seven were found to be significantly using AI for content creation.

Conclusion

As our ongoing analysis continues, it becomes clear that AI writing is becoming a staple in digital journalism. This technological advancement, undoubtedly, offers many benefits. Nonetheless, it also challenges traditional notions of content creation and journalistic integrity in general. The full impact of AI on journalism is yet to be fully understood, but it’s evident that the industry is at a crucial crossroads.

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