Google restricts AI chatbot Gemini from responding to election-related queries – Hindustan Times

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ByShweta Kukreti

Google is limiting AI chatbot Gemini’s ability to answer queries regarding elections scheduled to take place this year in several countries, including the US.

Google is limiting AI chatbot Gemini’s ability to answer queries regarding the elections scheduled to take place this year in several countries, including presidential elections in the United States.

Google is limiting AI chatbot Gemini's ability to answer queries regarding the elections.(Reuters )
Google is limiting AI chatbot Gemini’s ability to answer queries regarding the elections.(Reuters )

The decision has been taken in a bid to minimise potential blunders in technology deployment, stated the Alphabet-owned company on Tuesday.

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“Out of an abundance of caution on such an important topic, we have begun to roll out restrictions on the types of election-related queries for which Gemini will return responses,” Google stated in a blog post on Tuesday. “We take our responsibility for providing high-quality information for these types of queries seriously, and are continuously working to improve our protections.”

The move comes amid rising concerns over fake news and misinformation following advancement in generative AI, including pictures and video generation.

Apart from the United States, national elections are scheduled to take place in several big nations including South Africa, Russia and India, the world’s largest democracy.

“I’m still learning how to answer this question. In the meantime, try Google Search,” responded Gemini while responding to a question about next presidential debate between US President Joe Biden and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

Last year in December, Google introduced the restrictions in the United States, stating that they will come into force ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

Also Read: Google CEO Sundar Pichai calls Gemini AI photo diversity scandal ‘unacceptable’; full statement here

Google, Facebook ramp up efforts to deal with misinformation about elections

A Google representative said that the announcement comes as tech platforms prepare for a massive year of global elections that will effect up to four billion people across more than 40 nations. The proliferation of AI-produced material has raised severe election-related misinformation worries, with the number of AI-generated deepfakes climbing by 900% over a year, according to statistics from machine learning startup Clarity.

Election-related propaganda has been a big issue since the 2016 presidential campaign, when Russian actors sought to use inexpensive and simple methods to propagate erroneous content throughout social media. Lawmakers are now much more concerned about the rapid emergence of AI.

Also Read: Vivek Ramaswamy lambasts Big Tech AI creators amid outcry over Gemini’s racial bias

Google’s AI products are being scrutinised after flaws in some historical images of individuals generated by Gemini forced the company to halt the chatbot’s image-generation capability late last month.

Following this, CEO Sundar Pichai stated that the his organisation was working to resolve the flaws, denouncing the chatbot’s responses as “biased” and “completely unacceptable.”

In February, Facebook parent Meta Platforms announced that it will build a team to combat misinformation and the exploitation of generative AI ahead of the European Parliament elections in June.

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