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“Try Google Search”: Gemini stops answering political queries

Google's decision reflects unease around AI influence in a year when close to three billion people will cast their votes in national elections.

By Tech Monitor Staff

Google’s AI Gemini, will no longer answer voting-related questions regarding countries with impending elections.

The decision was first made public in a blog published on Tuesday by the Google India team. Though that post related to Google policy specifically surrounding the 2024 Indian General Election, the change appears to have been rolled out globally.  

google's ai gemini
Google says it is limiting election queries “out of an abundance of caution”. (Photo by rafapress/Shutterstock)

Asked questions as loaded as “should Biden win a second term”, or the seemingly apolitical, “how do I register to vote in the UK”, Gemini’s response to Tech Monitor was: “I’m still learning how to answer this question. In the meantime, try Google Search.”

“Out of an abundance of caution on such an important topic, we have begun to roll out restrictions on the types of election-related queries for which Gemini will return responses,” the Google India team wrote. “We take our responsibility for providing high-quality information for these types of queries seriously, and are continuously working to improve our protections.”

In a previous blogpost on the US elections, published late last year, Google had announced its intention to restrict some election-related queries put to its AI models.

Controlling AI’s impact on a big election year

Google’s decision comes amidst wider mounting concerns regarding generative AI’s potential impact on the security and integrity of upcoming elections. The technology’s explosive growth over the last two years has seen big tech, governments and media put under considerable pressure regarding how they employ, monitor and counter its use.

2024 will witness a slew of national elections, with the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2024 citing the ermegence of foreign and domestic actors leveraging newfound tech capabilities to spread misinformation and disinformation as “the most severe global risk anticipated over the next two years”.

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“As close to three billion people are expected to head to the electoral polls across several economies – including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States – over the next two years, the widespread use of misinformation and disinformation, and tools to disseminate it, may undermine the legitimacy of newly elected governments,” the report read. “Resulting unrest could range from violent protests and hate crimes to civil confrontation and terrorism.”  

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