Google says sorry after Photos app tags African people as ‘gorillas’

Twitter user @jackyalcine posted a picture of her friends that had been tagged as Gorillas on Google Photos.

By: Tech Desk | Updated: July 2, 2015 2:59 pm
Google says sorry for tagging African people as gorillas. Google says sorry for tagging African people as gorillas.

Google has apologised after its photos app automatically tagged African people as ‘gorillas.’ The issue was first highlighted by Twitter user @jackyalcine who posted a picture of her friends that had been tagged as Gorillas.

Google Photos ,which was launched in May at the annual I/O conference automatically, tags pictures that a user uploads using the search engine’s own artificial intelligence software.

The picture is below:

The picture that was tweeted out. The picture that was tweeted out.

She tweeted,

Google’s Yonatan Zunger, who describes himself as Chief Architect of Social at the company according to his Twitter profile, then responded to her tweet, saying that they would be rolling out a fix soon. Zunger said that this was one of those bugs, code never don’t ever want to see. Check out his tweets below:

Zunger went on to add, ” We shouldn’t be making piles with that label anymore, and searches are mostly fixed, but they can still turn up. Photos where we failed to recognize that there was a face there at all. We’re working on that issue now. We’re also working on longer-term fixes around both linguistics (words to be careful about in photos of people) and image recognition itself (e.g., better recognition of dark-skinned faces). Lots of work being done, and lots still to be done. But we’re very much on it.”

Google also issued an officially apology on the whole fiasco. “We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened,” a spokeswoman 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,” she added.

As the latest Google fiasco shows, with auto-tagging and image recognition, most companies still have a long way to go.

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