Wednesday, December 23, 2009

HP's web cam face tracking fail

Well it seems that HP's web cam does not track black people's faces. Watch the video below of a man named Desi and his white co-worker Wanda testing this. Shouldn't HP have tested this before releasing it? Testing, meaning making sure it follows everyone's face no matter their skin color. Is this racist or just a technical thing, let us know your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if it follows Hispanics! we are brown! great video!

extremophile said...

I think that the suggestion that this sort of thing is racist contributes to the creation of a atmosphere of paranoia where everyone and everything is very likely racist, and "is out to get us". This is not healthy, this is another form of perpetuation of the evil haunting of racism.

It wouldn't work with dark tanned white people as well, with Indians, with dark-skinned Amerindians and Asians, but would work with light-skinned people of African descent. It's a technical failure, not more racist than a malfunctioning xerox machine make a copy of a picture of black people with super-high contrast, where only the white part of the eyes and the teeth show, or inversely where white people would appear just as hair, pupils and some shadows, if there wasn't enough tonner or the miscallibration was in the other direction.

Kris said...

Well, it might be a reflection of the hiring practices of HP. It might be the people they chose to test the product on were not dark skinned. I work in Mass and in highly techinical field and I have meet few people of color in my field. In fact, most people in my department are white males.

Actually, you think of geek, you would probably think of a white male. I do. Anyway, this issue could honestly be a techinical oversight, cause at least in part to whiteness of the computer science industry.

Anonymous said...

I agree with extremophile. It's a great video, but there's no proving that HP intentionally did that on purpose.
Why would they?

alfred said...

HP did end up looking into the matter. HP e-mailed a statement that acknowledged that the webcam “may have issues with contrast recognition in certain lighting situations”. There were tests conducted by various sites that indicated that given the appropriate lighting conditions, the webcam worked just fine.

Racist HP Webcam: Tracks White People Only?

Ashley said...

I'm not sure if it is racist or if it isn't and it's just some technical errors on the video camera. But I'm pretty sure that the creator of the HP web cam wasn't really thinking about skin tones of other races. It may be just that the skin tone of the guy in the video is dark so the cam wasn't able to detect his face.