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Google CEO Sundar Pichai criticizes ‘completely unacceptable’ Gemini AI errors

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Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, issued strong condemnation on Tuesday regarding the “completely unacceptable” errors stemming from its Gemini AI application. The app faced backlash for producing historically inaccurate images, including ethnically diverse World War II Nazi troops, prompting Google to halt users from generating such content.

The controversy unfolded shortly after Google’s prominent rebranding of its ChatGPT-style AI to “Gemini,” positioning the app prominently within its product lineup in competition with OpenAI and its supporter, Microsoft. Social media platforms were rife with criticism and mockery directed at Google over the inaccuracies, which included diverse depictions of US senators from the 1800s, including women.

In a letter addressed to staff and published by the news outlet Semafor, Pichai acknowledged the issues and expressed regret over offending users and displaying bias. A Google spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the letter to AFP. Pichai reassured that Google’s teams were diligently working to rectify the problems but refrained from specifying when the image-generating feature would be reinstated.

Pichai emphasized the imperfection of AI, particularly at its current developmental stage within the industry, while reaffirming Google’s commitment to meeting high standards. The tech giant views generative artificial intelligence models as pivotal advancements in computing, with applications ranging from internet searches to creative endeavors like music and art.

However, concerns persist over the biases inherent in AI models, a criticism not exclusive to Google. The company attributed the problematic responses from Gemini to efforts aimed at mitigating biases. Prabhakar Raghavan, a representative from Google, explained in a blog post that Gemini’s calibration to showcase diversity inadvertently led to overcompensation and undue caution, resulting in erroneous and embarrassing images.

The emergence of AI technologies, exemplified by the success of ChatGPT, has prompted scrutiny from experts and governments alike. Beyond issues of bias, there are broader concerns regarding economic disruption, particularly in terms of job displacement, and the potential for AI-driven disinformation campaigns to influence elections and incite violence. As Google addresses the shortcomings of its Gemini AI, the broader implications and challenges of AI continue to be subjects of intense debate and scrutiny.

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