Elon Musk is going to war with Google

Elon Musk
Elon Musk. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images; Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/BI
  • Elon Musk has been heavily criticising Google over the past week.

  • Last week, Google paused its AI image generation tool after users complained it was too "woke."

  • Musk has been all over the controversy and used it to promote his own AI chatbot, Grok.

Elon Musk has a new obsession: Google.

The billionaire has been posting about the Big Tech company on X at a steady rate. Since the launch of Google's Gemini image generator, he's shared and replied to more than 100 posts about the company.

Most of these are, unsurprisingly, critical.

Last week, Google was forced to pause Gemini's image-generating feature after a wave of backlash that accused it of being too "woke." Users complained that Gemini generated historically inaccurate images of people of color and provided strange answers to some queries.

Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis said the company hoped to have the image generator online again in a "couple of weeks." He added that the issues were down to a well-intended feature being applied "too bluntly."

In a post on X, Musk claimed that a Google exec assured him the company was "taking immediate action to fix the racial and gender bias in Gemini."

Musk, a frequent critic of what he describes as "woke" policies, accused Google of running "insane racist, anti-civilizational programming" with its AI. The Tesla CEO also went all in on other aspects of Google's business, including its flagship search engine.

"Gemini is indeed just the tip of the iceberg. The same is being done with Google Search," the billionaire said in one reply. Musk also took a shot at the company's email service, Gmail, and appeared to suggest that a competing product called "XMail" was "coming."

Personal attacks

Unsatisfied with just going after Google's products, Musk also took a few shots at employees.

In one reply to a user's post about Big Tech companies donating more to Democrats than Republicans in 2020, he said: "Almost like there's a pattern."

Though BI could not independently verify the figures cited in the post, data for the 2020 election cycle showed that 83.73% of donations for Congressional candidates from Alphabet, Google's parent company, went to the Democrats and 6.34% went to the Republicans.

The figures were compiled by the charitable organization OpenSecrets, which publishes data on campaign finance and lobbying.

The billionaire also singled out Gemini's product lead, Jack Krawczyk.

Sharing a screenshot of one of Krawczyk's posts, Musk wrote: "This nut is a big part of why Google's AI is so racist & sexist."

Google and company representatives for Krawczyk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI, made outside normal working hours.

To give Musk some credit, Google's AI also appeared to be hard on him personally.

Several reports and screenshots promoted by Musk showed that Gemini appeared unable to say that Musk was worse than Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler. When BI tested the prompt a few days later, Gemini said it was "inaccurate and grossly inappropriate" to compare Musk to either historical figure.

Gemini vs Grok

Musk has more than his reputation at stake in this particular fight.

After taking a similar issue with OpenAI's ChatGPT, Musk founded his own AI company and released Grok, a competing chatbot. He has claimed he wants the bot to be funnier and less "woke" than its established rivals.

Musk is certainly attempting to use the Gemini controversy to highlight advantages of having an AI like Grok.

The billionaire has been sharing memes that praise xAI's efforts as "maximum truth-seeking" compared with rivals. One post on the subject even managed to provoke a response by ChatGPT's X account. The account for the bot responded to one post saying, "chat is this real?"

"Perhaps it is now clear why @xAI's Grok is so important," Musk said in a post. "It is far from perfect right now, but will improve rapidly. V1.5 releases in 2 weeks. Rigorous pursuit of the truth, without regard to criticism, has never been more essential."

Representatives for Musk did not immediately respond to BI's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

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