Google Photos snafu tags black people as 'Gorillas'
MANILA, Philippines – Google Photos' machine learning algorithm, while handy for organizational purposes, may need some training. A recent issue with Google Photos showed that its algorithm still has trouble reading faces and skin tones properly.
The service tagged a picture of two black people as "Gorillas," according to Jacky Alcine, who tweeted the error in Google Photos on June 29.
Google Photos, y'all fucked up. My friend's not a gorilla. pic.twitter.com/SMkMCsNVX4— diri noir avec banan (@jackyalcine) June 29, 2015
"My friend's not a gorilla," Alcine, a web developer, wrote.
According to The Wall Street Journal, a Google spokeswoman said, "We're appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened."
"There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labeling," she added, "and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future."
Yonatan Zunger, chief architect of social at Google, replied to Alcine, prompting an exchange and fix for the issue. The company appears to have removed the gorilla categories, so suggestions of the sort will no longer appear.
At the same time, Zunger added that the team is working on "longer-term fixes around both linguistics (words to be careful about in photos of people [lang-dependent] and image recognition itself. (e.g., better recognition of dark-skinned faces)."
The improperly tagged photos shows just how far machine learning has come, and at the same time, just how much more it will take to work out the kinks in Google's algorithms. – Rappler.com