Google has apologised and said it was “appalled” after its new Photos service (https:// photos.google.com) mistakenly tagged black people as gorillas. The embarrassing glitch was caused by the tagging feature in Google Photos. This uses artificial-intelligence software to automatically group types of photos, such as ‘sunsets’, ‘weddings’ and ‘dogs’.
The failure came to light on Twitter, when Jacky Alcine noticed the service had wrongly applied the tag to photos of his friends. “Google Photos, y’all f***** up. My friend’s not a gorilla” he tweeted, before pasting a screenshot (above) of the error. Google engineers immediately set about correcting the error. Yonatan Zunger, chief architect of social at Google, contacted Mr Alcine and asked for permission to examine the data in his Google Photos account, so the company could prevent similar incorrect tagging in the future.
Zunger issued a fix and later tweeted in reply to Mr Alcine: “Sheesh. High on my list of bugs you never want to see happen.” He also said that Google was working on how software could better recognise “dark-skinned faces”.
A spokeswoman for Google UK told the BBC: “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 labelling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future”. (Source: Computeractive)