Google Gemini Anti-Whiteness Disaster Is a Cautionary Tale About… Gaming?

Look past the cultural wars of the US

Alberto Romero


Google’s Founders by Gemini (Source)

This article is a selection from The Algorithmic Bridge, an educational project to bridge the gap between AI and people.

Google’s Gemini disaster can be summarized with this sentence:

A non-problem with a terrible solution; a terrible problem with no solution.

By now I’m sure you all have seen the lynching Google has received online after Gemini users realized it’s almost impossible to get the chatbot to generate images of white people. Among many others, Elon Musk, Yann LeCun, Paul Graham, Nat Friedman, and John Carmack chimed in with (more or less reasonable) criticisms and warnings about Google and its “bureaucratic corporate culture,” to quote Graham.

After almost unanimous backlash (except by Googlers in charge of Gemini and ethicists), Google decided to stop the chatbot’s ability to generate people until they solved the issue.

Before I continue, and because this topic is highly sensitive and prone to misinterpretation, let me say clearly that I believe diversity is important — insofar as it reflects reality accurately. Forcing it out of a racist anti-racist identity is wrong just like ignoring when discrimination you don’t care about happens is wrong.

Gemini’s anti-whiteness is a terrible solution

Here’s what happened: Google tried to solve AI’s well-known biased tendencies by fine-tuning Gemini with human feedback and likely adding a system prompt that further ensured the output would be diverse and inclusive. I don’t need to resort to “anti-woke” arguments to explain why it backfired; first, it’s impossible to safety-test all the prompts that users come up with once the model is released and second, the biases they’re trying to erase with band-aids are present in the data they so eagerly scrap from the internet.

Googlers were so concerned about bias and discrimination that they didn’t consider Gemini would obediently apply those same instructions when drawing medieval British Kings, 17th-century physicists, or even Google’s founders themselves. Gemini’s inability to create white people at all even…