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Google’s Chatbot Modi Remark: Stirring Controversy

In the realm of digital dialogue, even AI isn't immune to stirring up a storm. Recently, India found itself at odds with tech behemoth Google over its Gemini AI tool's response to a query about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, igniting a firestorm of controversy.

India's Accusation Against Google's Gemini AI

India's IT laws and criminal code took center stage as New Delhi accused Google's Gemini AI of transgressing the legal boundaries. The contention arose when the AI tool seemingly associated Prime Minister Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 'fascism' in its response to a user query.

Gemini's Controversial Response

The uproar began when Indian users, bustling with chatter on social media platforms, particularly X (formerly Twitter), highlighted Gemini's eyebrow-raising reply. When asked if Modi was a "fascist," the tool didn't mince words. It pointed to the BJP's "Hindu nationalist ideology, crackdown on dissent, and its use of violence on religious minorities" as grounds for the label.

Selective Tone and Unease

Adding fuel to the fire, Gemini's tone shifted gears when posed with similar inquiries about other world leaders like former US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. The discrepancy didn't go unnoticed, triggering further discontent among Indian users.

India's Swift Reaction

In the wake of the online uproar, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India's minister of state for electronic and information technology, wasted no time in denouncing Gemini's response. He asserted that the AI tool's actions amounted to a violation of the Information Technology Act and various provisions of the criminal code.

Google's Response and Government's Warning

Amid the brewing tempest, Google stepped in with a statement, acknowledging the issue and emphasizing Gemini's nature as a "creativity and productivity tool" that might not always hit the mark. However, Chandrasekhar swiftly rebuffed this defense, making it clear that technological fallibility doesn't exempt platforms from legal repercussions. He issued a stern warning, asserting that India's digital populace wouldn't be treated as guinea pigs for unreliable algorithms.

India's Stance on Tech Accountability

This isn't the first time India has taken a firm stance on technological accountability. In December, New Delhi rolled out an advisory mandating clear communication of prohibited content on digital and social media platforms. This move came in response to rising concerns over incidents involving deepfakes, prompting the government to tighten its grip on digital content dissemination.

Chandrasekhar's Vision for Accountability

Speaking at a public forum, Chandrasekhar articulated India's vision for tech accountability. He emphasized a departure from abstract notions of self-regulation, advocating for a legal framework that holds platforms responsible for ensuring safety and trust. Chandrasekhar underscored India's unique approach, blending elements of both the European and American models to strike a balance between market dynamics and citizen rights.

Gemini AI's Troubled Trajectory

Google's Gemini AI, formerly known as 'Bard,' has been no stranger to controversy. Even prior to its tussle with India, the program faced scrutiny, notably from Tesla's Elon Musk. Accusations of racism plagued Gemini, with users pointing out its purported failure to depict images of white individuals, ostensibly due to diversity-driven programming. In response, Google halted the generation of people images pending a fix.

In the ever-evolving landscape of AI and digital discourse, controversies like these serve as poignant reminders of the delicate balance between technological innovation and ethical accountability. As nations navigate this terrain, India's stance underscores the imperative of establishing robust frameworks to ensure that the promise of AI is realized without compromising societal values and legal integrity.

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