Google’s troubled AI feature is making Nintendo characters gay and trans with amazing results

A picture of Mario infront of a Pride flag.

Who needs fan-fiction when Google’s AI is making all the Nintendo characters LGBTQ+?

The tech giant’s foray into AI, dubbed Gemini, has become the focus of ridicule after it produced “odd, inaccurate or unhelpful” answers to search queries.

The AI language model, which was briefly made public just days ago, made headlines after encouraging users to put glue on their pizzas and falsely claiming that former president Barack Obama is a Muslim.

The model also claimed in search results that pretty much every character in Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers series is LGBTQ+.

A post by a user on 24 May shows the AI responding to a query about which Mario characters are queer by falsely claiming that Yoshi is a “tender non-binary lesbian,” Waluigi is asexual and androgynous, and that Wario is a “sassy, messy, polyamorous bottom”.

Other characters it labels as LGBTQ+ include Lakitu, who it calls a “sweet, nerdy pansexual” who has a “crush on straight girls,” Donkey Kong, described as a “late-in-life gay with a child”, and Bowser, who supposedly kidnaps Princess Peach because of her “gay icon” status.

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It even generalises an entire section of Bowser’s army, the Koopa Troopas, saying that they are all trans men who were “dishonourably discharged from the military”.

Gemini does get a bit of trivia partially correct when discussing Birdo, rightly saying the character is transgender, but then erroneously labelling her the “first transgender video-game character”.

The AI language model isn’t just making up head-canons for Mario Brothers, however, saying that characters from several other Nintendo games, including Animal Crossing and Pokémon, are queer.

The fiasco quickly prompted Google to restrict its AI-generated search results, with head of search Liz Reid saying the company would be “adding guardrails” to ensure its accuracy in the future.

“In the [past] week, people on social media have shared some odd overviews,” she wrote. “We know that people trust Google to provide accurate information, and they’ve never been shy about pointing out oddities or errors when they come across them.

“At the scale of the web, with billions of queries coming in every day, there are bound to be some oddities and errors. We’ve learned a lot over the past 25 years about how to build and maintain a high-quality search experience, including how to learn from these errors.”

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