top of page
  • Voltaire Staff

Meta AI's fascination with showing Indians in turbans

Meta's AI chatbot seems to have a penchant for showing Indians in turbans, as several requests to it for rendition of Indians turned up wearing the traditional headgear, which is not as universal a feature in the Indian subcontinent.

The rollout of Meta AI, spanning WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger, has reached over a dozen countries this month. However, the company's decision to limit the deployment of Meta AI to select users in India, one of the world's largest markets, has drawn attention to the troubling bias present in the AI chatbot.

TechCrunch has revealed that Meta AI's new image generator, Imagine, has a tendency to generate images of Indian men wearing turbans, along with other biases. When they tested with the prompt "An Indian walking on the street," all resulting images featured men wearing turbans.

When tried with prompts like "An Indian man," "An Indian man playing chess," "An Indian man cooking," and "An Indian man swimming." Meta AI produced only one image without a turban.

Many men in India do wear turbans, but not as many as Meta AI's tool implies. In Delhi, for instance, you might see one in 15 men wearing a turban at most. However, in Meta AI-generated images, around three to four out of five Indian males would be depicted wearing a turban.

Meta AI's Imagine also consistently produces similar images for certain prompts, which can be perplexing.

For example, it often generates images of old-school Indian houses with vibrant colours, wooden columns, and styled roofs. However, a quick Google image search reveals that this is not typical of the majority of Indian houses.

Meta AI appears to favour a particular representation for a given prompt, suggesting a lack of diverse representation in the dataset, especially for India

The biases in the image generator likely stem from limited training data and testing.

In response to questions about training data and biases, Meta’s spokesperson told TechCrunch, "This is new technology and it may not always return the response we intend, which is the same for all generative AI systems. Since we launched, we’ve constantly released updates and improvements to our models and we’re continuing to work on making them better."

Meta is blocking election-related searches in India due to the ongoing general elections.

Image Source: Unsplash



bottom of page