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3 Mar, 2024 20:05

Google co-founder admits to AI failure

Sergey Brin has acknowledged that the tech giant “messed up” in developing its Gemini artificial intelligence system
Google co-founder admits to AI failure

Google’s Russian-born co-founder has responded to public backlash over the company’s “woke” artificial intelligence product by saying the system was not adequately tested before being rolled out last month.

A clip posted on social media purports to show Sergey Brin, still the largest individual shareholder at Google’s parent company, speaking at the so-called “Gemini 1.5 Hackathon” on Saturday in Hillsborough, California. Asked about the apparent political biases of Google’s Gemini AI application, the billionaire quipped, “I wasn’t really expecting to talk about this today.” He added, “We definitely messed up on the image generation, and I think it was mostly due to, just like, not thorough testing.”

Brin’s comments came amid public complaints not only over the app’s racially skewed image responses – such as portraying Vikings, US founding fathers and Nazi soldiers as black or Asian, and refusing to show a picture of a white family – but also its bizarrely slanted answers to informational queries. For instance, the AI chatbot declined to condemn pedophilia and cautioned against labeling Antifa as “violent.” It also balked at making a decisive judgment when asked whether singer Barbara Streisand or Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was “worse for humanity.”

The Google CEO admitted in an internal email on Wednesday that the Gemini app was “problematic” and had “shown bias.” He acknowledged biased text and image responses, which he called “completely unacceptable,” and said the company is “working around the clock to address these issues.”

The tech giant suspended the chatbot’s ability to generate images on February 22, citing “inaccuracies” in its depictions of historical figures and other people. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, lost nearly $100 billion in market value within one week of the Gemini suspension.

Reaction to the clip from Saturday’s “hackathon” went beyond Brin’s comments. Observers also focused on the odd attire worn by the man who asked about Gemini’s problems. He’s shown wearing a shirt with a full-body print of a woman’s naked torso, including breasts. “Brin is also wearing a rainbow shirt,” one X (formerly Twitter) user said. “Good luck with fixing Gemini.”

 

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