In 2015, a black software developer named Jacky Alciné revealed that the image classifier used by Google Photos was labeling black people as "gorillas."
Google apologized profusely and set to work on the bug. Two years later, Google has simply erased gorillas (and, it seems, chimps and monkeys) from the lexicon of labels its image classifier can apply or be searched with, rendering these animals unsearchable and in some sense invisible to the AI that powers Google's image searching capabilities.
The capability to classify images as containing gorillas remains in some Google products, like Cloud Vision API.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that “gorilla” was censored from searches and image tags after the 2015 incident, and that “chimp,” “chimpanzee,” and “monkey” are also blocked today. “Image labeling technology is still early and unfortunately it’s nowhere near perfect,” the spokesperson wrote in an email, highlighting a feature of Google Photos that allows users to report mistakes.
Google’s caution around images of gorillas illustrates a shortcoming of existing machine-learning technology. With enough data and computing power, software can be trained to categorize images or transcribe speech to a high level of accuracy. But it can’t easily go beyond the experience of that training. And even the very best algorithms lack the ability to use common sense, or abstract concepts, to refine their interpretation of the world as humans do.
When It Comes to Gorillas, Google Photos Remains Blind [Tom Simonite/Wired]
For seven years, Florida state inmates could buy a $100 MP3 player from Access Corrections, the prisons' exclusive provider, and stock it with MP3s that cost $1.70 -- nearly double the going rate in the free world.
Back in 1977, middle class, white New Yorkers got frustrated over being criminalized for smoking weed, so they got the state legislature to decriminalized simple possession of weed -- merely having weed in your possession became a civil infraction and if you were caught, you might get a ticket, but that's it.
California's housing bubble has pushed prices so high (the median Californian home sells for double the national average) that, in some cities, 48% of first-time buyers could only afford to purchase their homes because their parents gave them the downpayment.
From self-driving cars to Siri, we’ve already gotten a taste of what AI can do, and now this groundbreaking technology is making its way to education and revolutionizing the way we learn new languages. Mondly uses state-of-the-art speech recognition to help you speak foreign languages like a true local. Lifetime subscriptions are on sale for […]
We’ve all used Excel at some point in our careers, but chances are most of us have only scratched the surface of what this ubiquitous program can do. From automating simple tasks to presenting data through beautiful charts and PivotTables, Excel brings a ton of utility to the table that can make a huge impact […]
Traveling isn’t always the most comfortable experience, but at least you have your music to keep you company on those long flights. That is, until your chatty neighbor and that crying baby three seats over drown out your playlist. These Paww WaveSound 3 Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones block up to 20 decibels of audio, so you can […]