When the subject of artificial intelligence comes up, people tend to default to “Skynet is going to murder us all!” mode faster than you can say “overreaction.” While we can understand their concern–even Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk seem pretty intimated by the concept of a sentient Arnold Schwarzenegger–this little story goes a long way to showing just how far we are from computers being able to identify and terminate any random person they feel like…

A Japanese Twitter user recently noticed that Google was accidentally identifying a legendary Japanese entrepreneur and beauty researcher as a certain member of America’s pop royalty. Can you guess who?

Sonoko Suzuki, who was born in 1932 and lived until 2000, was famous in Japan as a “beauty researcher” and was seemingly obsessed with have pure-white skin, a beauty style called “bihaku.” So, with that knowledge, whom do you think Google mistook for Ms. Suzuki?

▼Admit it. You’re not really surprised, are you?

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“Hey, Google! That’s the wrong photo!”

Yep, that’s right, Google got Michael Jackson and Sonoko Suzuki mixed up! And in case you think it was just a phone browser loading search results incorrectly, someone else tried from a desktop browser…

▼What a thrilling turn of events.

Suzuki2Hachima Kiko

Fortunately, it looks like a Google employee noticed the problem and fixed their search results, since this was what we found when we tried searching.

▼Okay, we can kind of see the similarity…


However, we have to say that there’s more than just physical similarities between Sonoko and MJ. After all, they’ve both left significant legacies behind. Sonoko’s company still exists today and even bears her name–and her likeness on billboards as you can see below. While Michael Jackson has what we can only describe as a complicated personal life, there’s no doubt that people will remember his music and dancing for decades as well. Whether or not Sonoko is a member of the beauty royalty, we can’t say, but we’d guess having an international company named after you would be a major qualifying factor.

SonokoWikipedia (Lombroso)

Of course, that doesn’t make Googles mix up any less humorous. Japanese commenters certainly got a kick out of it!

“What the hell is this? LOL”
“That’s not Sonoko. That’s Maiko! [A play on Micheal Jackson’s name, not the young, pale-faced performers.]”
“I can’t believe Michael’s face is really showing up when I search! LOL!”
“I thought for sure this was a prank, but it really came up when I googled it.”
“Thinking about the reason for this, it must be that there’s a certain issue with colors that Google hasn’t overcome yet. Stuff like this is probably why SEO was such a business opportunity.”
“Actually, now that you mention it, they DO kind of look alike…”

We’re not saying we’d make the same mistake as Google’s algorithm….but we’re not saying we wouldn’t either!

Still, this should put to rest any fear you may have of Google’s computer systems gaining sentience and coming to kill you with remote-controlled drones. On the other hand, you now have to worry about Google trying to kill someone else and accidentally targeting you instead!

Sources: Hachima Kiko, Twitter (Hibikilla)
Top image: Hachima Kiko