Gemini, Google's AI, is not woke by mistake: Former employees claim the design was on purpose

The tech giant saw the woke ideology take over its internal business culture.

Gemini, Google's new artificial intelligence tool, has generated controversy in the United States due to its notorious progressive tendencies when producing results related to political, historical, racial and gender issues.

Far from being an objective A.I., which delivers impartial results to the public as a result of its rapid search, Gemini develops responses with clear woke ideological influence.

For example, before it was updated, when users asked Google's new product for an image of a white person, Gemini refused to fulfill the request because it “reinforces harmful stereotypes and generalizations about people based on their race.” However, in similar requests about black, Native American or Asian people, Gemini did respond positively to the requests.

In other requests, specifically for historical images, Gemini's responses were even more woke. Various users requested photos of the founding fathers of the United States, Vikings and popes from history. But Google's A.I. answers were factually incorrect, providing images of female or non-white popes (even though all popes in history were white), black Vikings, and even a dark-skinned George Washington.

While senior Google officials have publicly said that the ideological bias within its AI responses is a “mistake,” some former company employees told The Free Press that the design of the new tool was on purpose, as a result of the progressive culture within the company.

"I was not shocked at all," Shaun Maguire, a partner at Google Ventures, the company's investment wing, from 2016 to 2019, said of Gemini's design.

"When the first Google Gemini photos popped up on my X feed, I thought to myself: 'Here we go again.' And: 'Of course.' Because I know Google well. Google Gemini’s failures revealed how broken Google’s culture is in such a visually obvious way to the world. But what happened was not a one-off incident. It was a symptom of a larger cultural phenomenon that has been taking over the company for years," added Maguire, a former employee who experienced Google's internal politicization firsthand.

According to The Free Press report, several former Google employees said that the design and programming of Gemini is largely due “a corporate culture that prioritizes the ideology of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) over excellence and good business sense.”

According to former Google employees, the prioritization of DEI criteria within the company was so invasive that even managers were discouraged from hiring white men or engineers were forced to list the “impact of DEI criteria” for the slightest software fixes.

In simple terms, these former employees claim that DEI criteria invaded every internal space of Google, making it a completely ideological company. Without a doubt, this situation harmed the tech giant.

“All of them agreed that the Silicon Valley giant entered the artificial intelligence race with an upper hand but has squandered it by cowing to an activist faction in the company that’s more committed to advancing social justice than making world-class products,” reads the report from The Free Press.

In fact, at the time of the controversy, Gemini's woke design caused Google losses of about $90 billion in the stock market.

While Google has publicly apologized to users, promising to fix the errors in its A.I., arguing that the company does not understand why Gemini has a clear ideological bias, in private, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was much harsher with employees, describing the inaccuracies as “unacceptable.”

"Our mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful is sacrosanct. We’ve always sought to give users helpful, accurate, and unbiased information in our products. That’s why people trust them. This has to be our approach for all our products, including our emerging AI products," Pichai wrote in a memo to employees.

Meanwhile, Google co-founder Sergey Brin told a room full of entrepreneurs in San Francisco earlier this month that the company didn't understand why Gemini “leans left in many cases … that's not our intention.”

But former Google employees have given a clear answer.

"The model is just a reflection of the people who trained it," a former Google Brain artificial intelligence researcher told The Free Press. "It’s just a series of decisions that humans have made."

And at Google, there are plenty of progressive employees. In 2020, 88% of Google employee donations went to Democrats, while only 12% went to Republicans. Furthermore, there was never an internal effort to have a balanced staff in ideological and political terms.

David Kiferbaum, a Google business manager who worked at the company from 2015 to 2023, reported that he was pressured to hire minority staff after the dismissal of James Damore, a former Google software engineer who in 2017 sent a memo to all employees titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber denouncing the company's internal ideological bias.

According to Kiferbaum, Google began to prioritize minority quotas over the abilities and resumes of people applying for jobs. Maguire not only agreed, but claimed that he also suffered pressure to hire minority personnel that, ultimately, lowered the company's internal standards.

"Meanwhile, over the next two years, I started to notice the dynamics of our team change. Instead of highly experienced founders and seasoned investors, young people from minority backgrounds were coming in with virtually no investment experience whatsoever," Maguire lamented. "In this time, Ventures promoted a 25-year-old black woman to investment partner—the same position I held at the time—who had not yet made a single investment decision in her entire career."