Google ‘sorry’ after photo app labels black friends gorillas

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GOOGLE HAS apologised after its photo app assigned the word ‘gorilla’ to images of black people.

The blunder was brought to the company’s attention when user Jacky Alciné noticed it had filed a number of photos of him and his black friend in an automatically generated album named ‘gorillas’.

Alciné, a computer programmer, took to Twitter to post proof of the Google Photos error, along with the question: “What kind of sample image data you collected that would result in this son?”

“Google Photos, y’all f***ed up. My friend’s not a gorilla.”

He quickly received a response from Google’s chief social architect, Yonatan Zunger, who aplogised profusely and admitted: “This is 100% Not OK.”

A Google spokesperson added: “We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened. We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing.”

“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,” they said.

Google launched its new Photos app in May. The app uses image labelling technology to assign tags to objects in photos and arrange them into albums.

The system is based on machine learning, so as more image data gets fed into the system, the technology will improve and get better at recognising objects in the images, though they are still developing the software.

It allows users of its Photos app to remove results when images are labelled incorrectly. This helps train Google’s systems so they can improve over time.

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