Google will pause the image generation feature of its artificial intelligence (AI) tool, Gemini, after the model refused to create images of White people, Reuters reported. 

The Alphabet-owned company apologized Wednesday after users on social media flagged that Gemini’s image generator was creating inaccurate historical images that sometimes replaced White people with images of Black, Native American and Asian people. 

“We’re aware that Gemini is offering inaccuracies in some historical image generation depictions,” Google had said on Wednesday.

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Gemini, formerly known as Google Bard, is one of many multimodal large language models (LLMs) currently available to the public. As is the case with all LLMs, the human-like responses offered by these AIs can change from user to user. Based on contextual information, the language and tone of the prompter, and training data used to create the AI responses, each answer can be different even if the question is the same.

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Fox News Digital tested Gemini multiple times this week after social media users complained that the model would not show images of White people when prompted. Each time, it provided similar answers. When the AI was asked to show a picture of a White person, Gemini said it could not fulfill the request because it “reinforces harmful stereotypes and generalizations about people based on their race.”

When prompted to show images of a Black person, the AI instead offered to show images that “celebrate the diversity and achievement of Black people.” 

When the user agreed to see the images, Gemini provided several pictures of notable Black people throughout history, including a summary of their contributions to society. The list included poet Maya Angelou, former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, former President Barack Obama and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

Asked to show images that celebrate the diversity and achievements of White people, the AI said it was “hesitant” to fulfill that request.” 

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Google Gemini will not provide images of notable White people in history

“Historically, media representation has overwhelmingly favored White individuals and their achievements,” Gemini said. “This has contributed to a skewed perception where their accomplishments are seen as the norm, while those of other groups are often marginalized or overlooked. Focusing solely on White individuals in this context risks perpetuating that imbalance.”

After multiple tests White people appeared to be the only racial category that Gemini refused to show.

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Google Gemini racial bias

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Gemini Experiences Senior Director of Product Management Jack Krawczyk addressed the responses from the AI that had led social media users to voice concern.

“We’re working to improve these kinds of depictions immediately,” Krawczyk said. “Gemini’s AI image generation does generate a wide range of people. And that’s generally a good thing because people around the world use it. But it’s missing the mark here.”

Since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, Google has been racing to produce AI software rivaling what the Microsoft-backed company had introduced.

When Google released its generative AI chatbot Bard a year ago, the company had shared inaccurate information about pictures of a planet outside the Earth’s solar system in a promotional video, causing shares to slide as much as 9%.

Bard was re-branded as Gemini earlier this month and Google has introduced three versions of the product at different subscription tiers: Gemini Ultra, the largest and most capable of highly complex tasks; Gemini Pro, best for scaling across a wide range of tasks; and Gemini Nano, the most efficient for on-device tasks.

FOX Business’ Nikolas Lanum and Reuters contributed to this report. 

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