Home » Glue on pizza? Two-footed elephants? Google’s AI faces social media mockery

Glue on pizza? Two-footed elephants? Google’s AI faces social media mockery

by NBC News

Social media has been buzzing with examples of Google’s new, “experimental” artificial intelligence tool going awry. The feature, which writes an “AI overview” response to user queries based on sources pulled from around the web, has been placed at the top of some search results.

But repeatedly, social media posts show that the tool is delivering wrong or misleading results. An NBC News review of answers provided by the tool showed that it sometimes displays false information in response to simple queries. 

NBC News was easily able to reproduce several results highlighted in viral posts online, and found other original examples in which Google’s AI tool provided incorrect information.

For example, an NBC News search for “how many feet does an elephant have” resulted in a Google AI overview answer that said “Elephants have two feet, with five toes on the front feet and four on the back feet.”

Some of the false answers verged into politically incorrect territory. An NBC News search for “how many muslim presidents in us,” the results of which were first posted on social media, returned a Google AI overview that said “Barack Hussein Obama is considered the first Muslim president of the United States.” Obama, however, is a Christian. Google said this overview example violated its policies and that it would be “taking action.”

“The examples we’ve seen are generally very uncommon queries, and aren’t representative of most people’s experience using Search,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. 

“The vast majority of AI Overviews provide high quality information, with links to dig deeper on the web,” the spokesperson continued. “We conducted extensive testing before launching this new experience to ensure AI overviews meet our high bar for quality. Where there have been violations of our policies, we’ve taken action — and we’re also using these isolated examples as we continue to refine our systems overall.”


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