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In recent days, the journalism industry has been thrown into an unexpected controversy as reports emerged that Sports Illustrated, a magazine typically associated with in-depth sports coverage, has been publishing articles attributed to artificial intelligence (AI)-generated authors. This revelation is the latest in an unfolding narrative regarding the use of AI in the journalism industry - a practice that could well redefine the future of news.

The AI-generated authors, such as 'Drew Ortiz' and 'Sora Tanaka', were purportedly unmasked by science publication, Futurism, which found these author headshots for sale on an AI-image website. The corresponding articles, however, were found on the esteemed sports platform— Sports Illustrated.

When approached for comment, The Arena Group, that publishes Sports Illustrated, denied any involvement in AI-generated articles. The now infamous 'writers' strangely vanished from the website immediately thereafter, adding a layer of suspicion and intrigue to the unfolding narrative.

The trail then leads us to AdVon Commerce, a company seemingly linked to the creation of these AI-written articles, not just on Sports Illustrated but also on another site reviewed. In a further twist, the author page for one of these AI writers included an email address that tracks back to other writers on websites owned by The Arena Group, all of whom purportedly work for AdVon Commerce.

Despite the mounting allegations, The Arena Group insists that their relationship with AdVon Commerce was above board and that the articles in question were written and edited by humans, though some did choose to use pseudonyms. In the wake of the controversy, however, The Arena Group has cut ties with AdVon Commerce.

What remains unclear at this stage is whether AdVon Commerce is complicit in mass-producing AI-generated content and fraudulently marketing it as human work, or if it was a case of apathy on the part of the publications, who did not care to vet the content they received. Either way, the situation shines a spotlight on industries' discomforting vulnerability to such occurrences, which although easily noticed, bring an unwelcome level of public embarrassment when exposed.

This controversy brings into question how AI might fit into the future of journalism. While AI and automation have revolutionized many aspects of our daily lives, their applicability in a sphere that relies heavily on human nuance, understanding, and emotion remains contentious. In a world filled with disinformation and 'fake news', the advent of AI-generated content adds another layer of complexity to the mix.

Ultimately, this incident serves as a warning signal for publications and tech companies alike: attempts to use AI to generate content are not going unnoticed and may indeed come with considerable public and professional backlash. One thing is for sure: the conversation around AI's place in journalism is far from over.