Google Co-Founder Unfazed by Question About ‘Woke’ AI From Attendee in Naked Woman Shirt

Google Co-Founder Unfazed by Question About ‘Woke’ AI From Attendee in Naked Woman Shirt

The internet is in an uproar after a question and answer session featuring Google co-founder Sergey Brin over the weekend, where an attendee in a mostly male audience wore a shirt depicting a naked woman’s body.

Brin has been an elusive figure since his retirement in 2019, but the tech pioneer is on the job at Google to aid in the company’s AI projects. Over the weekend, Brin made a rare appearance at an AI hackathon in San Francisco, where he spoke and took questions from the audience.

During a Q&A session, one attendee spoke up to ask Brin about the recent controversy surrounding Google’s Gemini image generator. Last week, there was widespread outrage from conservatives including Elon Musk after users realized the AI was hesitant to produce images of white men, even in situations where that would be the most traditionally accurate response, such as prompts for images of America’s “founding fathers.”

“Fire away, any questions?” Brin asked. He scanned the crowd as one of the event organizers encouraged the audience. “The man with the naked shirt,” Brin said, calling on one user and sparking nervous laughter from the crowd.

In a video posted on X/Twitter, the camera pans to a thin blond man wearing a shirt depicting a life-sized, photo-realistic image of a woman’s naked chest. “What are your reflections on the Gemini art, uh, happening?” the man asked, smirking.

Brin responded apparently unflustered. “I wasn’t really expecting to talk about that, but we definitely messed up on the image generation. I think it was mostly due to just not thorough testing, and it definitely, for good reasons, upset a lot of people,” Brin said.


“Quite honestly if you deeply tested any text model out there, whether it’s ours, ChatGPT, Grok, what have you, it’ll say some pretty weird things that are out there and that definitely feel far left, for example,” Brin said. “But also just to be fair, there’s definitely work in that model, so we haven’t fully understood what it leans left in many cases.” Brin went on to say that the problem should be “at least 80% better” as of this weekend after the model’s latest update.

The former Google CEO was apparently a last-minute addition to the event, and some prominent users on X speculated the man was intentionally provoking Brin. Still, some said the bizarre situation is representative of larger problems, and videos and images of the exchange launched vitriolic debate on social media.

One tech worker, Kerri Linsenbigler, a Senior Editor at The RevOps Team, reached out to Gizmodo directly to say that Brin’s failure to criticize the “deeply offensive” shirt “shows that perhaps we haven’t come as far as we’d thought.”

“These hackathons are meant to be spaces where professionals at the top of their game exchange ideas, collaborate, and discuss advancement in AI regardless of their gender or background,” Linsenbigler said. “It is hard to imagine that many women would feel comfortable sharing this space with a colleague who felt it appropriate to dress that way, and knew he could get away with it without being called out by his peers.”

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Even before the controversy surrounding Gemini’s image generator, the last 18 months of AI fever have left Google on unusually shaky ground. The rise of OpenAI and recent developments in the world of augmented and virtual reality are unprecedented challenges to Google’s position as the dominant power on the internet. Google was reportedly caught off guard by the launch and spectacular rise of ChatGPT, and it’s likely that the company was forced to release its AI models long before it wanted to. Brin’s return to Google in itself is seen by many as a sign that the company is uncertain about the path forward.

At several points, audience members asked Brin which applications of AI he was most excited about. The billionaire was unable to articulate anything specific.

“I think that it’s just, like, very hard to predict,” Brin said. “I mean, there’s sort of the obvious industries that people think of, sort of customer service or, I kind of just think, you know, analyzing different lengthy documents, and kind of workflow automation. I guess those are obvious, but I think there are going to be non-obvious ones.”

Some audience members also took Brin’s appearance as a rare opportunity to ask for the tech leader to look back on his history at the company. One attendee asked about Google Glass, the company’s controversial early experiment with AR glasses — and an enormous flop — a product that’s earning renewed attention given interest in the metaverse and Apple’s recent Vision Pro headset.

“I messed up Google Glass. I feel like I made some bad decisions. It was for sure early,” Brin said. Not just “in the overall evolution of technology, but also I think I, in hindsight, tried to push it as a product in itself, when it was sort of more of a prototype. And I should have set those expectations around it.” He went on to suggest he’s still interested in the product’s lightweight minimal design, an alternative both to the Apple Vision Pro and Meta’s less powerful but still resource-heavy Quest 3.

Brin went on to pontificate about several issues surrounding the future of artificial intelligence. Overall, his vague answers painted a picture of a man who is no more certain about the technology than Google’s billions of users.

“We don’t know where the future of AI is going, broadly. It seems to help across a range of many careers, whether it’s graphic artists or customer support or executives, you know, whatever you want,” Brin said. “If you’re talking about, you know, decades in the future, what should you be kind of preparing for, and so forth? I mean, it’s hard to say.”

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.