Today’s Cache | Google stops Gemini from generating images of people; Cyber firm Avast may pay millions over selling user data; Indian employees experiment with ChatGPT at work

Updated - February 26, 2024 05:39 pm IST

Published - February 26, 2024 02:41 pm IST

Today’s Cache | Google stops Gemini from generating images of people

Today’s Cache | Google stops Gemini from generating images of people | Photo Credit: REUTERS

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

Google stops Gemini from generating images of people

Google hit pause on its model Gemini’s ability to generate images of people using AI, after it came up with racially diverse Nazis and the Founding Fathers of America, triggering accusations of bias both within the model and the company’s employee culture. Google acknowledged there were inaccuracies in results, and said an improved version would be released soon. The current model is based on a Google research experiment called Imagen 2. Users claimed they were upset to find that Gemini easily generated images of Black individuals or other people of colour but refused to do the same when handling prompts that dealt with white people.

This was not the only controversy Gemini was involved in, as the chatbot caused a furore in India after noting in a response that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “been accused of implementing policies that some experts have characterised as fascist.” India’s Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said Gemini was violating Indian information technology laws and criminal codes.

Cyber firm Avast may pay millions over selling user data

The cybersecurity firm Avast may have to pay a $16.5 million fine for selling its customers’ data without their informed consent, and has been barred by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from further selling user data for advertising purposes. Avast’s data harvesting arm was called Jumpshot, and Avast shut down this arm after a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag in 2020.

The FTC noted that Avast did not anonymise consumers’ browsing information to an adequate degree and that it deceived its users. Some of the customer data captured included religious beliefs, health concerns, political views, locations, and financial status. Avast spokesperson Jess Monney said the company did not agree with the FTC allegations, reported tech outlet The Verge.

Indian employees experiment with ChatGPT at work

ChatGPT and other AI tools are entering Indian workplaces, with some employees using these large language models to cut down the time they spend on handling business content, while others make use of ChatGPT to boost their creativity or brainstorm artistic ideas. Several Indian workers in the creative industries were initially fearful of what AI could mean for their job security, but after using these tools, feel that AI could make them more productive without replacing the essence of their contributions.

At the recent Chennai Comic Con, creators and readers came face-to-face with the issue of AI in popular literature, with both groups realising that a range of reactions is to be expected when dealing with the controversial technology that has already been brought to court in the U.S. Meanwhile, in the corporate world, executives are grappling with AI bots in an effort to see if they can take on the jobs of coders.

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