Google pauses Gemini photo widget for people after anti-'woke' backlash | technology

The tech giant says the model is “missing the mark” following controversy over failure to photograph white people.

Google has temporarily stopped its Gemini AI model from generating images of people after backlash over its failure to photograph white people.

The search engine giant made the announcement on Thursday after Gemini users shared images created by the model that mostly featured people of color, including scenes from history that only included white people.

“Gemini's AI image generation generates for a wide range of people. This is generally a good thing because people around the world use it. But it misses the mark here,” Google said in a post on X.

“We are already working to address recent issues with Gemini’s photo creation feature,” the tech giant added. “While we do this, we will pause the creation of people's images and will re-release an improved version soon.”

Gemini-generated images that have circulated on social media in recent days have sparked widespread ridicule and outrage, with some users accusing Google of being “woke” at the expense of truth or accuracy.

Among the images that sparked criticism were depictions of four Swedish women, none of whom were white, and scenes of black and Asian Nazi soldiers.

“It's very difficult to get Google Gemini to acknowledge the existence of white people,” Debarghya Das, founding architect of enterprise search startup Glenn, said in a post on X accompanied by a number of images created by Gemini.

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AI models in the past have also faced criticism for ignoring people of color and perpetuating stereotypes in their results.

Google, which has been racing to catch up with rival OpenAI since launching ChatGPT in 2022, has suffered a number of setbacks in rolling out its AI products.

Last year, the tech giant apologized after its chatbot Bard incorrectly stated during a demo that the James Webb Space Telescope had captured the first images of an exoplanet.

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