African Americans Tagged As “Gorillas” By Google Photos App

Jul 3, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

African Americans Tagged As “Gorillas” By Google Photos App

Jul 3, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

google-black-gorillas

Google apparently is not the most politically-correct mind on the planet.  As a recent incident with the Google Photos app illustrates, the artificial intelligence engine is still learning…and making giant mistakes along the way.

Computer programmer and hobbyist photographer Jacky Alciné recently tweeted, “Google Photos, y’all f@#ked up. My friend’s not a gorilla,” along with a screen shot.  Jacky had uploaded a photo of himself and a friend to Google Photos, and the automatic tagging feature got it completely wrong.

After the mishap, Google began racing to fix the problem.  In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, they said:

“We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened.  There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labeling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future.”

And they should be.

The problem with artificial intelligence is that it is just that – artificial.  At the end of the day, it’s simply a bunch of ones and zeros coming together to output data.  While, like human cognizance, it learns from what it sees, the problem is that it can’t explore beyond its current reach (i.e. what it sees on the Internet).  It can’t walk out into the real world and discover new bits of information in the same way that a child steps beyond their front door.

Vivienne Ming, who is an artificial intelligence expert, believes this incident is the result of a biased society.  The machines and algorithms are tested on the internet which, as she attests, poses a problem in recognizing non-white people because of the overwhelming data and images of white people.

As we’ve seen previously with Google’s various products, as time goes along and more incorrect data is fixed by users, the algorithms adapt and become more knowledgeable.  It’s just unfortunate that this blunder had to happen along the way.

[via The Wall Street Journal]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

16 responses to “African Americans Tagged As “Gorillas” By Google Photos App”

  1.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Political correctness? Down!

  2. ikillflesh Avatar
    ikillflesh

    “Vivienne Ming, who is an artificial intelligence export..”
    So, she was designed within some sort of AI and then rendered as a 3D pseudo-human who does social commentary…. Or, maybe we are just all humans who make mistakes.

    1. Allen Mowery Avatar
      Allen Mowery

      Good catch :-) …although, I am starting to wonder if pseudo-humans haven’t already invaded my local area.

  3. jeffp3456 Avatar
    jeffp3456

    The same site that just shamed National Geographic for sensationalizing a story? Reminds me of a saying about throwing the first stone..

  4. Rob Reeves Avatar
    Rob Reeves

    Wow these PC nut jobs are going too far this time. I can’t believe they don’t like being reminded of a horrific stereotype which helped strengthen institutionalized racism for hundreds of years. Like, heloooo it’s just an algorithm subject to the existing biases of both its creators and society at large. How is that racist? I got mistaken for a lamp once, and that has the exact same social ramifications as the above article. Sheesh!!

    1. ikillflesh Avatar
      ikillflesh

      You type like a lamp

    2. Felipe_Paredes Avatar
      Felipe_Paredes

      Hahahhahaha! You silly

  5. Adrian Duron Avatar
    Adrian Duron

    And this has what to do with do it yourself photography?

  6. Luigi Ginosa Avatar
    Luigi Ginosa

    Well hello Socialist International, for a minute I thought I was reading on a DIY photography page…hasta la revolucion

  7. miamic70 Avatar
    miamic70

    LMFAO

  8. David Flores Rose Avatar
    David Flores Rose

    Ya lo vi jajajajja

  9. Ahmet Avatar
    Ahmet

    Can’t wait the time when a US court sends an AI to jail.

  10. David Lewis Avatar
    David Lewis

    I am pretty sure google did this on accident. It doesn’t mean google is racist. Do you really think that a company that supports diversity as much as google did this on purpose. I am sure that google will correct problem.

  11. Rick Avatar
    Rick

    Why do I get the feeling that due to over correction on the part of the programmers there will soon be photos of actual gorillas labeled as African-Americans?

  12. Felipe_Paredes Avatar
    Felipe_Paredes

    THAT particular girl kind of look like a gorilla… Can’t see racism here. the lesson is that we need to teach computers to lie so no one get offended. Right?

  13. mike Avatar
    mike

    This will cause tumblr to explode.