Controversy Over Google’s AI Image Tool Explained And Why It’s On Pause

hero google gemini
Google has had to put the brakes on its Gemini AI text-to-image generation when it comes to humans. The controversy erupted on social media this week, with Google confirming its most powerful AI offering ever was indeed creating images with historical “inaccuracies.”

The launch of Gemini seemed to go well for Google initially, however, earlier this week users on social media began noticing that when it came to generating images of historical figures, Gemini seemed to have a mind of its own. Some examples shared showed Gemini rendering images of US founding fathers as being African American, and 1943 German Nazi soldiers as being of Asian and African American descent. Following the backlash, Google quickly responded by removing Gemini’s ability to create any images including humans, and issued a statement shared via X/Twitter.

google gemini tweet

Google remarked, “We’re already working to address recent issues with Gemini’s image generation feature. While we do this, we’re going to pause the image generation of people and will re-release an improved version soon.” An earlier tweet added, “Gemini’s AI image generation does generate a wide range of people. While that’s generally a good thing because people around the world use it. But it’s missing the mark here.”

Elon Musk has been one of the more vociferous voices on X/Twitter concerning the issue. In a tweet today, Musk remarked, “A senior exec at Google called and spoke to me for an hour last night. He assured me that they are taking immediate action to fix the racial and gender bias in Gemini.” He concluded, “Time will tell.”

John Krawczk, senior director of product for Gemini at Google, remarked in a statement that the company’s image generation capabilities are a reflection of its massive “global user base,” and it takes “representation and bias seriously.” He added, “We will continue to do this for open ended prompts (images of a person walking a dog are universal!). Historical contexts have more nuance to them and we will further tune to accommodate that.”

google gemini response

Currently, if a Gemini user requests a text-to-image creation including a person, the AI will respond, “We are working to improve Gemini’s ability to generate images of people. We expect this feature to return soon and will notify you in release updates when it does.”