Occurred: July 2023

Buzzfeed came under fire for publishing a list of AI-generated images that portrayed Barbie in 195 countries in a manner that was seen as inappropriate, inaccurate, and that reinforced racial and ethnic stereotypes. 

From Afghanistan To Zimbabwe: Here's What Barbie Would Look Like In Every Country was  created using the Midjourney image generator and depicted a number of Asian Barbies with blonde hair, showed Middle-eastern Barbies wearing a traditional headdress for men, gave a South Sudanese doll a gun, and a Lebanese Barbie standing on rubble.

In addition to reinforcing racial and ethnic stereotypes, the fracas also resulted in commentators highlighting existing concerns about bias in generative AI datasets, and in Midjourney specifically.

Buzzfeed deleted the article after the backlash. 

Operator: Buzzfeed
Developer: Midjourney

Country: All

Sector: Consumer goods; Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Entertain

Technology: Text-to-image; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - race

Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2023
Last updated: November 2023