The basketball community is mourning the death of Brandon Hunter, a forward for the Ohio Bobcats who played briefly in the NBA with the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics before having a long, productive career overseas.
Hunter, 42, was a legendary figure for the Ohio University basketball program where he starred for four years, averaging 16.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 119 games.
While not a household name by any stretch, an article posted on MSN.com appeared to be drafted by either someone wholly unfamiliar with his career, or not a “someone” at all.
Microsoft, which owns the online publication, is facing criticism and allegations that it used artificial intelligence to write Hunter’s obituary, and the results were, to put it lightly, bad.
The headline of the since-removed article reads: Brandon Hunter useless at 42.
It gets worse.
The article, which Futurism.com fairly describes as “garbled,” was filled with both typos, poor grammar and described Hunter as having “performed in 67 video games over two seasons.”
He “achieved a career-high of 17 factors in a recreation in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2004,” the article reads.
The MSN post has been taken down and scrubbed from its home page, but an archive link is still accessible online.
The possibly AI-generated article doesn’t delve into the specifics about his death, thankfully.
NBC News is reporting that Hunter died after he collapsed during a hot yoga class in Orlando, Florida, but an official cause of death has not been released.
Hunter was inducted into the Ohio University athletics Hall of Fame just last year and his name still sits near the top of the school’s all-time statistical leaders.
Current Bobcats coach Jeff Boals called Hunter a “phenomenal player” and a “great ambassador for Ohio, a great teammate, a great competitor, and a great family man.”
Hunter leaves behind his wife, Mary, and three children, Boals said.
Microsoft is a major backer of AI technology, investing billions into OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT. Last month, the tech giant found itself under fire for posting an Ottawa travel guide, which recommended the city’s food bank as a must-see destination. MSN denied using “unsupervised” AI to create that story, according to the Verge.
When reached for comment regarding the posting of Hunter’s obituary, a Microsoft spokesperson released the following statement:
“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 statement does not address whether the article in question was generated by artificial intelligence or how it ended up on the MSN home page.