Google apologized as Google Photos labelled black people as Gorillas. The issue was reported by an African-American, Jacky Alcine on Twitter who posted a picture of him and a friend that had been labelled as Gorillas.
Google Photos app was launched in May this year at the annual I/O conference, which uses the Google’s own artificial intelligence software. It boasted of new features including automatic image recognition and auto-tagging; which generates albums based on categories like people, landscapes, food, etc. Users didn’t need to do anything to sort their photos.
Google Photos, y’all fucked up. My friend’s not a gorilla. pic.twitter.com/SMkMCsNVX4
— diri noir avec banan (@jackyalcine) June 29, 2015
Sadly, Google’s object database included not only wild animals, but also combined them into one with humans. The affected user, Jacky Alciné who is a computer programmer in Brooklyn, took to Twitter to show the error of Google Photos, which labelled him and a friend, both African American as “gorillas.” He also wrote “What kind of sample image data you collected that would result in this son?”
Google officials response after Google Photos labelled Black people as Gorillas
Yontan Zunger, Chief architect of Google+, quickly responded to Jacky Alcine on Twitter and said “This is 100% Not OK.” He also said that the developers are working to make sure that such kind of mistakes never happens again.
“We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened. We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing. 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,” said Katie Watson, Google spokeswoman in a statement.
Google apologized as Google Photos labelled Black people as Gorillas, but Google is not the first tech company to face such bugs in its automatic image labelling system. In May, Flickr’s auto-tagging system also labelled images of black people with tags such as “animal” and “ape.”