Is HP's Face-Tracking Webcam Racist?
Okay, so we're not trying to judge the folks over at Hewlett Packard, but the YouTube video floating about showing an African-American man testing out it's face tracking webcam is a tad, shall we say, racially coded.
The video shows Desi, an African-American man and his white co-worker Wanda testing out the webcam, which is supposed to follow your face. When Desi stands in front of the camera, nothing happens. When "White Wanda" steps in the camera follows her...everywhere. Desi and Wanda are total sports about the whole thing and provide us with some much needed chuckles.
At first the video comes off like a joke. But HP isn't laughing. The company released a statement this morning basically saying their technology may have had difficulty seeing "contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting." We read that to mean, 'our algorithms are tested by some light-skinned folks who don't consider that darker-skinned people might actually use this technology.' But we stand to be corrected.
What do you think?