Google has got down on its hands and knees to apologise – and claims it too is “appalled” – after the firm’s new Photos app mistakenly labelled a black couple “gorillas”.
In yet another classic case of technology failure, the app automatically tags uploaded pictures using its own artificial intelligence software. The howler was exposed by American software developer Jacky Alcine, who was one of the people pictured. He said the issue had affected several photos in his collection.
Google executive Yonatan Zunger acknowledged the balls-up on Twitter after being contacted by Alcine. He wrote: “This is 100% not OK. [It was] high on my list of bugs you ‘never’ want to see happen.”
Zunger claimed Google had already taken steps to avoid others experiencing a similar mistake, adding that the firm was “also working on longer-term fixes around both linguistics – words to be careful about in photos of people and image recognition itself – [so we can get] better recognition of dark-skinned faces”.
A Google spokeswoman told the BBC. “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 labelling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future.”
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