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May 2024 - Gemini | 1st Runner Up

Google’s Gemini should have known better.

Twenty years ago, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg captured the ethos of technology development of the day when he said, “Move fast and break things”. Zuckerberg was a little older (and bruised?) ten years later when he recast the MO of Silicon Valley to “Move fast with stable infrastructure”. Not as sexy, but more practical. 

The counterpoint to that early Facebook approach was taken by Google, which declared in its early days, “Don’t do evil”. At about the same time Zuckerberg was having second thoughts, so were the founders at Google. In 2015, their bumper sticker changed to “Do the right thing”.

If the experience of the company with its AI chatbot, Gemini, is any indication, they may have spoken too soon. 

Take this in the New York Times, “Now Google has temporarily suspended the A.I. chatbot’s ability to generate images of any people and has vowed to fix what it called ‘inaccuracies in some historical’ depictions.” Inaccuracies in some “historical depictions”? Yup.

In creating pictures of German Nazi soldiers, it returned the right uniform, but worn by men and women of color. It caused a stir online with some suggesting Google had bent too far over to correct for previous bias. As the Times reported, Gemini was now “unable to generate images of people based on specific ethnicities and skin tones” so as to avoid “harmful stereotypes and biases.”

It isn’t just pictures, but words, too, that have drawn critical attention to Gemini. As reported in TechCrunch, Google is keeping Gemini out of elections for fear of promoting misinformation.

“If you want to ask Google’s AI chatbot a question about an upcoming election, you will have to do it from a country where there are no elections taking place,” TechCrunch reports. “The shift highlights not only the role that generative AI has been playing, and has the potential to play, in the election process, but also Google’s concern about how the service might get weaponized, as well as produce inaccurate or misleading responses.”

It is fair to note that the AI-tail has not just been pinned to Google’s donkey, but Amazon
and Adobe have also been tested and found wanting. Maybe the entire field of AI chatbots should be our first runner up, but we thought we’d do the right thing and give the nod to Google’s Gemini.

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