Google Gemini AI Chatbot Restricted From Elections-Related Queries

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Google has implemented restrictions on its AI chatbot, Gemini, preventing it from providing responses to inquiries regarding global elections slated for this year.

Elections, voting - artistic interpretation.

Elections, voting – artistic interpretation. Image credit: Manny Becerra via Unsplash, free license

The developers say this is a part of the company’s efforts to avoid potential pitfalls in deploying the technology. The Alphabet-owned company disclosed this information on Tuesday.

This development coincides with growing concerns about misinformation and fake news fueled by advancements in generative AI, including image and video generation, prompting governments to regulate the technology.

In instances where questions about elections, such as the upcoming U.S. presidential match-up between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, are posed to Gemini, the chatbot replies, “I’m still learning how to answer this question. In the meantime, try Google Search.”

Google had previously announced restrictions within the U.S. in December, specifying that these measures would be implemented ahead of the election. A spokesperson for the company stated on Tuesday, “In preparation for the many elections happening around the world in 2024 and out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting the types of election-related queries for which Gemini will return responses.”

Apart from the United States, several large countries, including South Africa and India, the world’s largest democracy, are gearing up for national elections.

India has taken a proactive approach by urging tech firms to obtain government approval before publicly releasing AI tools that are either “unreliable” or in a trial phase.

Furthermore, there is a request to label such tools, indicating their potential to provide incorrect answers.

Google’s AI products have come under scrutiny following inaccuracies in historical depictions generated by Gemini, leading the company to temporarily halt the chatbot’s image-generation feature last month.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai acknowledged the issues and committed to addressing them, describing the chatbot’s responses as “biased” and “completely unacceptable.”

In a similar vein, Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, announced last month its intention to establish a team dedicated to combating disinformation and the misuse of generative AI in preparation for the European Parliament elections scheduled for June.

Written by Alius Noreika

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