Alphabet’s Google has taken action after its Gemini AI tool generated “inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions”.

Google had begun offering image generation through its Gemini (formerly Bard) AI platform earlier this month.

But this week it has paused image generation of people via the Gemini tool due to racial inaccuracies with some of the historical images.

Bard to Gemini.
Image credit Google

Historical images

Google’s Gemini AI tool matches similar services from rivals such as OpenAI, which earlier this month had also offered an AI model that can create short form videos just from simple text instructions.

But Google has confirmed in a tweet on X (formerly Twitter) that it is “aware that Gemini is offering inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions.”

It then added in a separate tweet that it will pause the tool, admitting that it “missed the mark.”

“We’re aware that Gemini is offering inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions,” said the Google statement. “We’re working to improve these kinds of depictions immediately. Gemini’s AI image generation does generate a wide range of people. And that’s generally a good thing because people around the world use it. But it’s missing the mark here.”

The admission comes after criticism that the Gemini AI tool depicted specific white figures such as Vikings, the US Founding Fathers, or groups of Nazi-era German soldiers as people of colour – which possibly was an overcorrection to long-standing racial bias concerns with AI.

Racial bias

The issue of bias (especially racial bias) in artificial intelligence (AI) systems has often been in the news headlines in recent years.

Indeed the problem was so serious that many organisations and businesses halted using or selling any AI systems until the issue was fixed.

Matters had not been helped after research in 2017 by the US Government Accountability Office found that FBI algorithms were inaccurate 14 percent of the time, as well as being more likely to misidentify black people.

Google had launched its Bard (now Gemini) Chatbot back in March 2023, following a rapid development process that had triggered by the overnight success of Microsoft-backed ChatGPT in late 2022.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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