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Google Shuts Down AI Image Generator After It Made "Racially Diverse Nazis"

Faulty Bot

Google has paused its AI image generator due to its penchant for creating grossly inaccurate historical illustrations — such as, and no we are not kidding, racially diverse Nazis — that had people howling on social media.

Google announced the hiatus for its Gemini AI tool in a post on the social media platform X-formerly Twitter this morning.

"We're already working to address recent issues with Gemini's image generation feature," the post reads. "While we do this, we're going to pause the image generation of people and will re-release an improved version soon."

Google started letting users tool around with Gemini's image generator a few weeks ago, but users quickly noticed that the platform was creating historically inaccurate images, leading to Google's embarrassing pause.

AI Race

This prompted conservative critics to accuse Google of being biased against white people, adding another chapter to the culture wars on AI.

That's not to say remixing history can't be interesting and provocative — just look at the hit Broadway show "Hamilton," which cast people of color as America's Founding Fathers to critical acclaim — but that sort of artistically meaningful choice, of course, requires human intentionality.

Google's AI, on the other hand, seemed to be jamming diversity into historical imagery on autopilot, even when the context is bizarre or offensive, like producing images of racially diverse Nazi soldiers in World War II. Worse yet, the AI seemed to be adding diversity to historical imagery proactively, without the user even suggesting the alteration.

https://twitter.com/JohnLu0x/status/1760066875583816003

History of Failure

This isn't the first time that Google's Gemini, formerly known as Bard, has floundered under the bright lights of the big stage.

Last year, when it was still called Bard, the AI tool spat out inaccurate information during a debut demo, sending the shares of parent company Alphabet downward.

Google is basically trying to play catch up with Microsoft-backed OpenAI, which made a huge splash about a week ago with its AI video generator Sora.

OpenAI has so far dominated this nascent, highly competitive sector, giving its patrons at Microsoft an early win.

Undoubtably, Google engineers are now working to fix Gemini so that the tech giant can regain its footing. But it may still suffer from problems, especially on issues of copyright that has plagued other image generators and as this latest gaffe shows, AI differs from early tech in its limitless capacity for high-profile screwups.

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