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How Gemini AI sparked tensions between Google and the Indian government

Vivek Vishwakarma
New Update
Gemini AI

Google's Gemini AI, a new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, found itself at the centre of controversy for its response to a query about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

It all started when journalist Arnab Ray asked Gemini AI whether Narendra Modi was a fascist. The AI's response, which suggested that some experts view Modi's policies as fascist, contrasted sharply with its more neutral or evasive answers to similar questions about other world leaders like Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

This disparity in responses led to widespread discussion and criticism, particularly on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter).


Indian government criticizes Google

Besides netizens, The Indian government, through Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, accused Google of violating Indian information technology laws and criminal codes with Gemini AI's response.

"These are direct violations of Rule 3(1)(b) of [the IT Rules, 2021] and violations of several provisions of the Criminal code," Chandrasekhar said on X, formerly Twitter.

He also said that trial models are unacceptable and that digital platforms must ensure the safety and trust of Indian citizens, hinting at a serious legal and regulatory backlash against Google.

What was Google's response?

In response to the uproar and the Indian government's accusations, Google quickly addressed the concerns surrounding Gemini AI.

"We’ve worked quickly to address this issue. Gemini is built as a creativity and productivity tool and may not always be reliable, especially when it comes to responding to some prompts about current events, political topics, or evolving news. This is something that we’re constantly working on improving," a Google spokesperson told Hindu Businessline.

The tech giant also clarified that the Gemini AI tool is developed in accordance with its AI Principles and includes safeguards to detect and test various safety risks. 

Pausing Gemini AI's image generation feature

The controversy extended beyond text responses to Gemini AI's image-generation capabilities. Google acknowledged the feature's inaccuracies in historical depictions and the criticism over perceived biases in generating images.

In a statement on X about Gemini's text-to-image capabilities, Google wrote: “We’re working to improve these kinds of depictions immediately. Gemini’s AI image generation does generate a wide range of people. And that’s generally a good thing because people around the world use it. But it’s missing the mark here."

In yet another post, Google confirmed that it was pausing Gemini's image generation feature, noting, “We're already working to address recent issues with Gemini's image generation feature. While we do this, we're going to pause the image generation of people and will re-release an improved version soon."

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