Google has removed the "gorilla" tag from its new Photos app and apologized after the app's algorithm made a racist mistake.
On Monday, computer programmer Jacky Alciné discovered that Google's new Photos app, launched in May, kept tagging pictures of him and his friend - both of which are black - as gorillas and took to Twitter to post proof of the algorithm's grievous mistake. "Google Photos, y'all f****d up. My friend's not a gorilla," Alciné tweeted. Alciné posted some of the images from the "Gorilla" album adding, "What kind of sample image data you collected that would result in this son?" and "Like I understand HOW this happens; the problem is moreso on the WHY. This is how you determine someone's target market." Google's chief social architect Yonatan Zunger quickly responded and apologized for the system's error. "Holy f***. G+ CA here. No, this is not how you determine someone's target market. This is 100% Not OK," tweeted Zunger who requested permission to examine the data in Alciné's account to find and fix the issue. After a few unsuccessful attempts to fix the faulty tag, Google decided removing it completely was its best option.
"We're appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened. We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing," said a Google spokesperson in a separate statement on the matter. "There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labelling, and we're looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future." Google has been apologizing a lot this year, mostly for its Maps app.
Photo: © Google.