Elon Musk slams Google’s AI as ‘racist’ and ‘anti-civilizational’

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has escalated his war with Google after accusing the tech giant of running ‘racist’ and ‘anti-civilizational’ programming with its artificial intelligence (AI) models. Musk’s criticism comes after Google paused its AI image generation tool Gemini, following user complaints that it was too ‘woke’ and produced historically inaccurate images.

Google launched Gemini AI earlier this month, as a multimodal AI tool that can understand and generate text, code, audio, images and video. Gemini AI competes with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a popular chatbot that Musk co-founded but later left due to disagreements over its direction.

However, Gemini AI soon faced backlash from some users who claimed that the tool had an anti-white bias and generated images of people of color in inappropriate historical contexts. For example, Gemini AI depicted a black woman as a US founding father and showed black and Asian people as Nazi-era German soldiers. Users also reported that Gemini AI gave strange answers to some queries, such as saying that there was ‘no right or wrong answer’ to whether Elon Musk posting memes on X was worse than Hitler killing millions of people.

Google apologized for the inaccuracies and said that it had ‘paused’ the image generation feature of Gemini AI, while working to improve it. Google’s DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said that the issues were due to a well-intended feature that was applied ‘too bluntly’. He added that the company hoped to have the image generator online again in a ‘couple of weeks’.

Elon Musk blasts Google’s AI as ‘insane’ and ‘alarming’

Musk, who has been vocal about his concerns over the potential dangers of AI, seized the opportunity to criticize Google and its AI models. He tweeted that Google’s AI was ‘killing Western Civilization’ and that it was doing the same thing with its search results, Facebook, Instagram and Wikipedia. He implied that he would release his own Gmail alternative and hinted at creating his own search engine.

Musk also accused Google’s AI of being racist and sexist and claimed that he spoke on the phone with a Google executive who said that it would take a few months to fix it. He expressed his doubt that Google’s ‘woke’ bureaucracy would allow him to do so. He also suggested that those who were responsible for the AI’s bias should be fired from Google.

Musk also shared memes and screenshots to highlight the problems with Google’s AI. He said that the issue was ‘extremely alarming’ given that the AI would be embedded into Google’s other products, which are used by billions of people. He also singled out Gemini’s product lead, Jack Krawczyk, as a ‘nut’ who was behind Google’s AI being ‘racist and sexist’.

Musk promotes his own AI chatbot, Grok

Musk also used the controversy to promote his own AI chatbot, Grok, which is developed by his company xAI. He said that Grok was ‘far from perfect’ but would improve rapidly. He announced that Grok version 1.5 would be released in two weeks. He said that Grok was a ‘maximum truth-seeking AI’ that tried to understand the nature of the universe. He said that Grok was important because ‘rigorous pursuit of the truth, without regard to criticism, has never been more essential’.

Grok is a separate entity from Musk’s other businesses, such as Tesla and X, but works closely with them. Grok has hired researchers from Google, OpenAI and other top tech firms. The goal of Grok, according to its website, is ‘to understand the true nature of the universe’. Grok is advised by Dan Hendrycks, director of the Center for AI Safety, who has warned that AI could pose a ‘risk of extinction’ to humanity.

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