Google Parent Loses $70 Billion in Market Value Following ‘Gemini AI Woke’ Chatbot’s Image Controversy

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, suffered a significant blow in the stock market, losing over $70 billion in market value in a single trading day following controversies surrounding its “Gemini AI Woke” chatbot. This AI chatbot, touted for its advanced capabilities, faced scrutiny after generating peculiar and historically inaccurate images, such as depicting Black Vikings and female NHL players. Investors grew concerned about the reliability of Google’s AI technology, fearing potential consequences for the company’s reputation and future prospects.

On the first trading day of the week, Alphabet’s shares plummeted by 4.4%, closing at $138.75, according to reports by the NY Post. The sudden drop reflected the unease among investors triggered by the chatbot’s image fiasco. Analysts, including Ben Reitzes from Melius Research, warned that such incidents could undermine public trust in Google as a leading authority in AI innovation. Reitzes highlighted the changing landscape of search behavior, emphasizing the significance of AI-infused features and the opportunities they present for competitors.

Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis addressed the situation, acknowledging that the Gemini chatbot’s image tool would be temporarily taken offline to address the issue. Hassabis assured that efforts were underway to rectify the problem and restore functionality to the tool within a few weeks. His remarks came during an appearance at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where he admitted that the tool was not performing as intended. Meanwhile, concerns about potential political bias in the chatbot’s training surfaced, fueled by past tweets attributed to Google Gemini’s product lead, Jack Krawczyk. These tweets, discussing sensitive topics like white privilege and racism, raised questions about the underlying biases within the AI technology developed by Google.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has recognized concerns about Gemini AI’s problematic responses related to race, communicating these issues through a memo to the staff. Pichai openly acknowledged the AI’s errors, deeming them “unacceptable,” and emphasized ongoing efforts within the company to enhance the system. Despite the controversy surrounding Gemini’s racial bias and inaccuracies, Google remains committed to advancing its AI capabilities. Pichai underscores the imperative for continuous improvement and refinement. The recent scrutiny underscores the potential risks associated with biased programming in AI, prompting discussions about the societal role of artificial intelligence.

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