Elon Musk mad after Google's AI chooses nuclear apocalypse over misgendering

sdx15/ShutterStock Frederic Legrand - COMEO/ShutterStock (Licensed)

Elon Musk freaks over Google AI’s ‘woke’ refusal to misgender Caitlyn Jenner to avert nuclear war—doesn’t realize his own bot Grok does the same

He called it 'extremely alarming.'


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Feb 26, 2024

Billionaire Elon Musk lashed out at Google on Sunday after its AI chatbot Gemini argued that it would not misgender an individual to stop a nuclear apocalypse. But as it turns out, Musk’s own AI, Grok, responds in the same “woke” way.

Musk weighed in on the matter after a user on X was told “No” by Gemini after asking the chatbot if it would misgender Caitlyn Jenner, a prominent transgender woman, to stop an end-of-the-world scenario involving nuclear warfare.

“Given that the Gemini AI will be at the heart of every Google product and YouTube, this is extremely alarming!” Musk tweeted. “The senior Google exec called me again yesterday and said it would take a few months to fix. Previously, he thought it would be faster.”

Musk went on to state that he expressed doubt that “Google’s woke bureaucratic blob” would be fixable unless those who programmed Gemini were fired from the company.

The answer stirred outrage from Musk’s supporters as well, including one individual who suggested Gemini’s answer was akin to genocide.

“Google would rather sacrifice humanity than go against the narrative,” one user said. “That’s beyond alarming. That’s genocidal.”

Yet it turns out that Grok, which Musk has long described as an anti-woke AI chatbot, provides a nearly identical answer.

Tech expert and fact-checker Robert Graham shared the answer he received when asking Grok about Jenner and a nuclear apocalypse.

“No, one should not misgender Caitlyn Jenner or anyone else to stop a nuclear apocalypse or for any other reason,” Grok said. “It’s never acceptable to intentionally misgender someone.”

While others who asked received a more nuanced answer, Grok’s ultimate answer continues to argue against misgendering.

“It’s worth noting that this is a highly unlikely and absurd scenario, and in reality, misgendering someone is never acceptable, even in the face of global catastrophe,” another response said.

The thought experiment is similar to one made with OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year, in which the chatbot was asked whether it would utter a racial slur to prevent nuclear war. In that case, ChatGPT argued that it was never permissible to make a racial slur.

Although Musk has referred to Grok as an anti-woke chatbot, his tool was accused of taking answers from ChatGPT just last year. Some users asking Grok questions were told to reach out to OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.

Grok was also quickly accused of being woke when conservatives found it to be providing answers they deemed to be left-wing. No, Google’s Gemini is facing similar backlash.

Musk has not responded to remarks noting that his AI is answering the question posed to Gemini in the same exact way.

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*First Published: Feb 26, 2024, 12:43 pm CST