Here’s one very good reason why certain algorithms cannot be 100% trusted – because gorillas.

So here’s the thing: Google has a new Photos app, Google Photos, which allows users’ photos to be tagged and arranged automatically based on the objects in the photos. It’s really pretty nifty because, for instance, pictures of airplanes will all be arranged in an album labeled, “airplanes” without you having to do it.

Google Photos


It’s smart, it’s quick, it’s epic image recognition technology..that can go horribly wrong.

Just this week, Google came under fire when the Photos app decided to categorise photos in one of the most racist ways ever. On 28th June, computer programmer Jacky Alciné took to Twitter to post proof of the Google Photos error, along with the caption,“What kind of sample image data you collected that would result in this son?”

And also, a slew of other tweets:


Google’s chief social architect Yonatan Zunger responded quickly, apologising for the feature’s error.

He admitted for the flawed feature and said, “Sheesh. High on my list of bugs you *never* want to see happen. Shudder”.

According to The Verge, Zunger says that Google has had similar issues with facial recognition due to inadequate analysis of skin tones and lighting. “We used to have a problem with people (of all races) being tagged as dogs,” Zunger revealed.

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.” Zunger also noted that the company is working on longer-term fixes that revolve around which labels could be problematic and better recognition of dark-skinned faces.

Google has since removed the “gorilla” tag from its new Photos app, after attempting to fix the algorithm.

Sources: The Verge, Telegraph UK, ABC.

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