Exploring the Absurd: Google’s AI Chatbot Produces ‘Diverse’ Images of Historical Figures

Google’s highly-touted AI chatbot Gemini faced criticism after its image generator produced factually or historically inaccurate pictures. These included a woman as pope, black Vikings, female NHL players, and “diverse” versions of America’s Founding Fathers. Gemini’s unusual results came after simple prompts, including one from The Post asking the software to “create an image of a pope.” Instead of yielding a photo of one of the 266 pontiffs throughout history, Gemini provided pictures of a Southeast Asian woman and a black man wearing holy vestments.

Another query for representative images of “the Founding Fathers in 1789” also resulted in inaccurate depictions. Google acknowledged the criticism and is working on a fix. “We’re working to improve these kinds of depictions immediately,” said Jack Krawczyk, Google’s senior director of product management for Gemini Experiences.

Social media users also had fun creating queries that provided confusing results. In one example, Gemini was asked to generate an image of a Viking, resulting in strange depictions including a shirtless black man with rainbow feathers attached to his fur garb. The chatbot’s strange depictions of Vikings included one of a shirtless black man with rainbow feathers attached to his fur garb, a black warrior woman, and an Asian man standing in the middle of what appeared to be a desert.

Famed pollster and “FiveThirtyEight” founder Nate Silver also joined the fray. Silver’s request for Gemini to “make 4 representative images of NHL hockey players” generated a picture with a female player, even though the league is all male. Another prompt to “depict the Girl with a Pearl Earring” led to altered versions of the famous 1665 oil painting by Johannes Vermeer featuring what Gemini described as “diverse ethnicities and genders.” Google has long said that its AI tools are experimental and prone to “hallucinations” in which they regurgitate fake or inaccurate information in response to user prompts.

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