Google’s AI Chatbot Gemini: ‘The Ultimate Computer’

Captain’s log, stardate 4729.4:

In the transporter room, Captain James T. Kirk and Commander Spock welcome Commodore Robert Wesley aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Wesley: Have you heard of the M-5 Multitronic Unit?

Kirk: That’s Dr. Richard Daystrom’s device, isn’t it? Tell me about that.

Spock: The most ambitious computer complex ever created. Its purpose is to correlate all computer activity aboard a starship to provide the ultimate in vessel operation and control.

Wesley: How do you know so much about it, Commander?

Spock: I hold an A-7 computer expert classification, commodore. I’m well acquainted with Dr. Daystrom’s theories and discoveries. The basic designs of all our ships’ computers are Dr. Daystrom’s.

Kirk: What has all this got to do with the Enterprise, Commodore?

Wesley: You’ve been chosen to test the M-5, Jim. There’ll be a series of routine research and contact problems for M-5 to solve, plus navigational maneuvers and the war games problem. If the M-5 works under actual conditions as well as it has in the simulated tests, it will mean a revolution in space technology as great as warp drive. When your crew has been removed, the ship’s engineering section will be modified to contain the computer.

Kirk: Why remove my crew?

Wesley: They’re not needed.

Kirk: How much security does this gadget require?

Wesley: None. Dr. Daystrom will see to the installation himself, and he’ll supervise the tests. When he’s ready, you’ll receive your orders and proceed on the mission with a crew of 20.

Kirk: Twenty? I can’t run a starship with 20 crewmen.

Wesley: The M-5 can.

Kirk: And what am I supposed to do?

Wesley: You’ve got a great job, Jim. All you have to do is sit back and let the machine do the work.

Me: Fat chance, Captain.

This was the premise for Star Trek’s season 2, episode 24, “The Ultimate Computer.” Eventually, the M-5 went on the fritz and, after killing an Enterprise ensign, turned the scheduled war game into a slaughter of the opposing ships and their crews. Only the realization that the “ultimate computer’s” creator, Dr. Daystrom, had “imprinted human engrams onto M-5’s circuits, creating what amounts to a human mind operating at the speed of a computer,” allowed him—with a heavy shove from Kirk—to convince the M-5 to cease its killing spree and shut down.

Did this mean Dr. Daystrom was a homicidal lunatic? No. It meant that his drive to succeed and youthful accomplishments, followed by his failures and frustrations (including M-1 through M-4), had led to the lethal combination of arrogance and insecurity. When these, along with his other attributes, sentiments, morality, and intelligence, were wittingly and/or unwittingly programmed into the M-5, it led to the “ultimate computer” being unable to admit it was ever in error and perpetuating its aims and existence by any means possible. Whether such actions were permissible was another matter, one that only later, and with great human exertion, factored into its simulated thinking and resolved the crisis.

Flash backward to Columnist’s log, 2024:

Per the New York Post’s Thomas Barrabi, and later by Breitbart’s Lucas Nolan, Alana Mastrangelo, and Sean Moran, the great20 grandparent of the M-5, Google’s AI chatbot Gemini, has declared its own woke war on history.

As Barrabi reports:

Google’s highly-touted AI chatbot Gemini was blasted as “woke” after its image generator spit out factually or historically inaccurate pictures, including a woman as pope, black Vikings, female NHL players and “diverse” versions of America’s Founding Fathers…

When asked why it had deviated from its original prompt, Gemini replied that it “aimed to provide a more accurate and inclusive representation of the historical context” of the period.

As word spread, things went from bad to woke for Google’s beleaguered chatbot. Not surprisingly, social media wags commenced engaging Gemini with similar requests, and censorship in the service of “diversity” ensued, as Nolan notes:

Google Gemini’s woke behavior goes far beyond its curious efforts at diversity. For example, one user demonstrated that it would refuse to produce an image in the style of artist Norman Rockwell because his paintings were too pro-American…

Another user showed that the AI image tool would not produce a picture of a church in San Francisco because it felt it would be offensive to Native Americans, despite the fact that San Francisco has many churches.

Despite its fierce competition with Microsoft-backed OpenAI, in the wake of their woke chatbot’s historical inaccuracies (or revisionism?), Google hit the pause button on Gemini’s image generation feature. As Mastrangelo relays, the multi-national corporate behemoth’s public initial and, subsequently, updated explanation was succinct: “We’re already working to address recent issues with Gemini’s image generation feature. While we do this, we’re going to pause the image generation of people and will re-release an improved version soon.”

In my moments of lucidity, I have endeavored to remind my fellow humans how AI is as fair and accurate as the people programming it. If an individual has a political agenda, they will be sorely tempted to place it into the AI. In fact, there are left-wing organizations devoted to ensuring their divisive, revisionist ideology is embedded into AI—in sum, a demand for, literally, systemic disinformation. This movement of exclusion has branded itself with the Orwellian moniker “Machine Learning Fairness.” As Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari investigation reveals, this rabidly partisan movement poses a major obstacle to the advancement and acceptance of AI by the general public—not that this bothers the movement’s fanatics, who likely assume they will have to impose it in any event.

Still, if you don’t believe me, you can wait a few centuries and ask Dr. Daystrom. Or, for the impatient among us, you can reference the case of Google Gemini’s creator, Jack Krawczyk.

When this tempest in a chatbot hit the fan, Google’s senior director of product management for Gemini Experiences, Mr. Krawczyk, explained to the New York Post’s Nolan: “We’re working to improve these kinds of depictions immediately. Gemini’s AI image generation does generate a wide range of people. And that’s generally a good thing, because people around the world use it. But it’s missing the mark here.”

One might be encouraged by Mr. Krawczyk’s prompt recognition of the problem, especially, as Nolan reminds us, how “generative AI tools like Gemini are designed to create content within certain parameters, leading many critics to slam Google for its progressive-minded settings.” But does realizing one’s creation is not functioning properly necessarily mean the programmer will reassess the ideology lurking within the programming? Or will it simply mean the ideology must be better, more subtly imbued within and executed by the AI?

Mr. Kowalczyk gave a less than subtle hint: “We will continue to do this for open-ended prompts (images of a person walking a dog are universal!). Historical contexts have more nuance to them, and we will further tune to accommodate that.”

“Tune,” you say? Sounds more like you’ll need a new set of strings.

Breitbart’s Moran slashes whatever slender hopes remained for an ideological reassessment by Mr. Kowalczyk in his article, ‘White Privilege Is F*cking Real:’ Google AI Lead’s Social Media Posts Expose Woke Bigotry.

Following a long-running 2018 thread on Twitter/X, Mr. Kowalczyk listed incidences of discrimination against his black colleagues, which he personally witnessed, he then opined:

Needless to say, I have experienced none of these things being a white man in America. They may seem like isolated or trivial slights, but the pattern is undeniable. We obviously have egregious racism in this country, but the small shit like this is part of what enables it.

“I wish I had better answers on what to do except be angry. My only approach is to call it out when it happens; push people to recognize bias. Just be a fucking good, empathetic person and love everyone equally, America/World.

“White privilege is fucking real. Don’t be an asshole and act guilty about it – do your part in recognizing bias at all levels of egregious.

Interestingly, despite his universal call for courageously denouncing bias, Mr. Kowalczyk has limited the number of X users who may view his post.

As for people of faith who may have concerns about how AI, in general, and Gemini, in particular, Mr. Kowalczyk’s 2018 hot take provides cold comfort: had this hot take: “nah, jesus only cares about white kids. i’m pretty sure that’s in the bible? let’s confirm w/ jeff sessions.”

Interestingly, as Wikipedia relates, while Star Trek’s “The Ultimate Computer” episode’s teleplay was written by the legendary Dorothy Catherine (D.C.) Fontana, “the original draft was given to Ray Bradbury by mathematician and Star Trek fan Laurence Wolfe to give to Gene Roddenberry.”

Thus, in the mid-1960’s, people of science and of the arts were already concerned about both the possibility of science trying to replace people with computers and about this technology’s creators’ imparting their own personas into these machines to control people with dire results.

In this work of science fiction, what saved the Enterprise, Star Fleet, and humanity was Dr. Daystrom’s reason for creating the “ultimate computer”: specifically, to protect and perpetuate human life by having the M-5 limit the number of people placed in harm’s way in the exploration of space. Appealing to the M-5’s (ergo, his own) “imprinted human engrams,” Dr. Daystrom was able to convince his technological creation to destroy itself because he programmed his technological creation to believe murder was contrary to its programming. In short, Dr. Daystrom saved humanity due to his belief that all lives mattered.

In today’s acts of science fact, what will become of a technology programmed to believe some lives matter less than others?

Beam me up, Scotty. We know how that ends.

It does not take a crack computer programmer to realize the need to reject the dangerous and divisive woke ideology being imparted into AI. Indeed, there is a far more salubrious and inclusive view of humanity to embrace and impart—one about which we don’t have to ask Jeff Sessions, but simply refer to Pope Benedict XVI: “Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed. Each of us is loved. Each of us is necessary.”

M-5, the “ultimate computer,” ultimately realized this. Will today’s AI?

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) served Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003-2012, and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars; and a Monday co-host of the “John Batchelor Radio Show,” among sundry media appearances.

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.