Google bans AI chatbot Gemini from answering election questions: ‘Try Google Search’

Gemini logo and black George Washington
Gemini logo and black George Washington
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Google is restricting AI chatbot Gemini from answering questions about the global elections set to happen this year, the Alphabet-owned firm said Tuesday, as it looks to avoid potential missteps in the deployment of the technology.

The update comes at a time when advancements in generative AI, including image and video generation, have fanned concerns of misinformation and fake news among the public, prompting governments to regulate the technology.

When asked about elections such as the upcoming presidential match-up between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, Gemini responds with “I’m still learning how to answer this question. In the meantime, try Google Search.”

A black George Washington from Google’s Gemini image generator sparked outrage last month. Google Gemini
A black George Washington from Google’s Gemini image generator sparked outrage last month. Google Gemini

Google had announced restrictions within the US in December, saying they would come into effect ahead of the election.

“In preparation for the many elections happening around the world in 2024 and out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting the types of election-related queries for which Gemini will return responses,” a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Aside from the United States, national elections are set to be held in several large countries including South Africa and India, the world’s largest democracy.

India has asked tech firms to seek government approval before the public release of AI tools that are “unreliable” or under trial, and to label them for the potential to return wrong answers.

Google’s AI products are under the scanner after inaccuracies in some historical depictions of people created by Gemini forced it to pause the chatbot’s image-generation feature late last month.

CEO Sundar Pichai had said the company was working to fix those issues and called the chatbot’s responses “biased” and “completely unacceptable.”

Google had announced restrictions within the US in December, saying they would come into effect ahead of the election. Future Publishing via Getty Images
Google had announced restrictions within the US in December, saying they would come into effect ahead of the election. Future Publishing via Getty Images

Facebook-parent Meta Platforms said last month it will set up a team to tackle disinformation and the abuse of generative AI in the run-up to European Parliament elections in June.