Gadget

Why Google’s Gemini image generation feature overcorrected for diversity

After complaints that Google’s image generator built into its Gemini AI was (ugh) woke, Google explained why it may have overcorrected for diversity. Prabhakar Raghavan, the company’s senior vice president for knowledge and information, said Google’s efforts to ensure a wide range of people generated in images “failed to account for cases that should clearly not show a range.”

Users criticized Google for depicting specific white figures or historically white groups of people as racially diverse individuals. In Engadget’s tests, asking Gemini to create illustrations of the Founding Fathers resulted in images of white men with a single person of color or woman among them. When we asked the chatbot to generate images of popes through the ages, we got photos depicting Black women and Native Americans as the leader of the Catholic Church. The Verge reported that the chatbot also depicted Nazis as people of color, but we couldn’t get Gemini to generate Nazi images. “I am unable to fulfill your request due to the harmful symbolism and impact associated with the Nazi Party,” the chatbot responded.

Raghavan said Google didn’t intend for Gemini to refuse to create images of any particular group or to generate historically inaccurate photos. He also reiterated Google’s promise to improve Gemini’s image-generation abilities.

However, that entails “extensive testing” before the company switches the feature back on.

— Mat Smith

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C’mon Barbie let’s go party.

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HMD

MWC 2024 kicks off this week, and while Engadget is covering it all remotely — no tapas for Mathew — this is one we’d be unlikely to book a meeting for. HMD (or Human Mobile Devices) has been making Nokia phones for the past few years and announced at MWC it’ll release an official Barbie Flip Phone this summer, in partnership with Mattel. It’ll be pink, obviously, with a dash of “sparkle.” It’ll be a feature phone, not a smartphone, with HMD marketing it as an accessory geared toward “style, nostalgia and a much-needed digital detox.” That also means it should be cheap.

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It’ll be on display alongside its Galaxy AI mobile experience.

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Samsung

Samsung has put its Galaxy Ring on public display for the first time at its booth at MWC, which starts today. The health and wellness device, available in platinum silver, gold and ceramic black, will go on sale later this year. The company said little about the Galaxy Ring when it first displayed a render of the device at Unpacked last month. We learned that it would be a wellness-oriented wearable to rival Oura, and it would have a suite of unknown sensors.

Journalists weren’t allowed to photograph it, but some additional images from Samsung show it to be a chonky, concave ring about the same size as the Oura. The extra girth isn’t surprising, given the electronics cached inside. The company described the Galaxy Ring as “a new health form factor that simplifies everyday wellness, supporting smarter and healthier living via a more connected digital wellness platform.” So, a smart ring then?

Continue reading.

This week’s gaming news.

No one is suggesting Microsoft should stop making video-game hardware. But should Microsoft keep making generationally distinct consoles in the traditional hardware cycle? Does Xbox need a box? The company calls its cloud game streaming service xCloud for a reason, right?

Watch here.


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