View Full Version : HP software accused of racism

23-12-09, 02:45
PALO ALTO, Calif. (KCBS) -- Hewlett Packard is looking into claims that its video-chat software is somehow racist. The problem was first brought to light in a video posted on YouTube.

In the video titled "HP Computers are Racist," an African American man asserts that the face tracking software won’t follow him because his skin is too dark, but it will follow his coworker.

In a blog posting, HP says the problem seems to occur when insufficient foreground light is available, and KCBS Technology Analyst Larry Magid says lighting is the real issue here, not race.

”I think that it could possibly be explained by the lighting, and the fact that black skin obviously is darker, and probably needs better lighting (for the program to work), that’s true with any type of photography,” said Magid.

HP says they are taking the issue seriously, and looking into correcting it with their partners.


Here's the video:
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23-12-09, 02:51
Haha, I love that guy in the video.

But yeah, I think this comes down to an issue with the lighting (as it said in the article), not racism. It'll be fixed. Of course, maybe they should have tested this better before selling them. :p

23-12-09, 03:06
Sexism, because it won't work for men actually.

23-12-09, 03:15
Funny, but quite sad. :/

23-12-09, 03:18
A state of the art pc with a major flaw.

Nothing racist though.

Wana b like Lara
23-12-09, 03:25
Oh comeon! It's not like HP planned this evil little scheme to allow the face tracking software to follow caucasian/white/pale colours! :p I love it how they actually made a vid! :D

23-12-09, 03:39
this is just plain stupid....:p

23-12-09, 04:02
It reminds me of the recent trend in teens calling eachother racists for fun and junk..when this could obviously be a tecyhnical issue and not at all racial:p

Melonie Tomb Raider
23-12-09, 04:55
It's not because of the lighting, because that's a warehouse with lights everywhere. Looks well lit to me. It just doesn't pick up black people. I don't think it's a racist issue, however. I think HP merely didn't test it on people with different colors.

I laughed my butt off watching that video. :vlol: I don't think he was seriously accusing them of being racist, I'm pretty sure he was just joking around. :p

23-12-09, 05:06
^ Yeah, I think when the article said there was a lighting issue, I don't think they meant lights in the room, but instead it only being able to pick up certain colours or amount of "light" in a face. They obviously didn't test it out on different skin colours, which was stupid on their part. :p

I think he was joking, too. He's pretty hilarious. lol

23-12-09, 05:39
Oh yeah, it's not racist - HP just couldn't be bothered to think of it.

Unconscious racism is still racism, but we might confine out concerns to cases where a group is actually harmed. Does this guy's company decide on promotions partly based on "face time", for instance?

The same approach was applied to wheelchair ramps until recently - "Oh, we have nothing against the handicapped, we just didn't think of it."

Dennis's Mom
23-12-09, 14:09
It's a monochromatic issue. Clearly they've programmed it to pick up very definite spots--like eyes--that define the face area. Since he appears very "one color" to the camera, it can't find the eyes.

You probably could draw a rudimentary face on a piece of paper and it would follow it provided it could identify the features it had been programmed to recognize.

23-12-09, 14:23
Gotta admit that video is funny. Well the reason it doesn't work is because of his colour (in combination with his bone structure probably), so it is kind of racist. :tea:
Just kidding, I doubt they did it on purpose. They already said they would look into the problem. But next time they should test their products by using different sources of light and people with different features!

Los Angeles
23-12-09, 14:27
:vlol: This isn't even funny, that's sad...

23-12-09, 14:49
LOL, love it!

26-12-09, 15:42
they should start advancing their technology to recognise black faces and not just white ones!
so sosososososo racist :ohn:

26-12-09, 19:46
Since he is pretty much the only black person who has yet complained, its probabaly to do with his camera, assuming it works fine with everyone else.

And its hardly racist.

lara croft TR
28-12-09, 10:25