Formula E team abandons plan to use AI-generated "influencer" after fan backlash

Mahindra, the Formula E team, have ditched plans to use an "influencer" generated by Artifificial Technology after it was met by online criticism.
Formula E team abandons plan to use AI-generated

The influencer, named Ava, was intended to "showcase the team's journey in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, and towards a more sustainable future for our planet", Mahindra said when she was announced.

In the accompanying Instagram account, Ava referred to herself as a "Sustainable Tech Queen & Racing Rebel Robot" and “Fueling inclusion through AI innovation”.

Her 11 posts so far have included comments such as “let's chat tech wonders, the future, racing, and all things econerdy. Sending tech hugs and virtual high fives to my new community”.

But the criticism centres around Mahindra generating an AI influencer rather than hiring a real person.

The backlash included arguments to suggest that Mahindra’s use of AI technology was, rather than inclusive, actually excluding real women who dream of a career in motorsports.

Not long after, Ava was gone.

CEO and team principal Frederic Bertrand explained: “Nurturing diversity, inclusion and innovation is at the heart of Mahindra Racing. 

“Our AI influencer program was designed with this innovation in mind.

“Your comments hold tremendous value. We have listened, understood and decided to discontinue the project.”

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