Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

Google Photos Still Has a Problem with Gorillas

January 11, 2018

In 2015, Google drew criticism when its Photos image recognition system mislabeled a black woman as a gorilla—but two years on, the problem still isn’t properly fixed. Instead, Google has censored image tags relating to many primates.

What’s new: Wired tested Google Photos again with a bunch of animal photos. The software could identify creatures from pandas to poodles with ease. But images of gorillas, chimps, and chimpanzees? They were never labeled. Wired confirmed with Google that those tags are censored.

But: Some of Google’s other computer vision systems, such as Cloud Vision, were able to correctly tag photos of gorillas and provide answers to users. That suggests the tag removal is a platform-specific shame-faced PR move.

Bigger than censorship: Human bias exists in data sets everywhere, reflecting the facets of humanity we’d rather not have machines learn. But reducing and removing that bias will take a lot more work than simply blacklisting labels.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.

What’s next for AI in 2024

Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year

OpenAI teases an amazing new generative video model called Sora

The firm is sharing Sora with a small group of safety testers but the rest of us will have to wait to learn more.

Google’s Gemini is now in everything. Here’s how you can try it out.

Gmail, Docs, and more will now come with Gemini baked in. But Europeans will have to wait before they can download the app.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.