Is Google Racist?

Nov 5, 2007 • 8:47 am | comments (17) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Last week, Newsweek reported that the Google "algorithm" paired up two African American leaders with monkeys, as the screenshot suggests:

Newsweek: Racist Google?

Is Google racist?

They fault this on their algorithms. Other bad image-text links are inevitable. Newsweek cites a few more examples:

Recently Google News mismatched stories on Argentina's newly elected president Cristina Fern√°ndez with a photo of the California wildfires. A photo of the late Australia crocodile hunter Steve Irwin accompanied a report on the stock market. And thanks to the fast-breaking developments at Merrill Lynch, O'Neal managed to evolve. After he was forced to retire Tuesday in the wake of massive subprime losses, Google News illustrated the story with a 1939 photo of Katharine Hepburn taken during the filming of "The Philadelphia Story."

That's right. There's really no way for computers at this point to discern what is in the contents of an image. It is still reliant upon human intervention. If you want to help rectify things (and please have good intentions!), you can play the Image Labeler game.

Forum discussion continues at DigitalPoint Forums.

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