Hewlett-Packard Co. said Monday it is looking into the facial-tracking software used in its personal computers, after a customer calling himself “Black Desi” posted a YouTube video, where he says that Hewlett-Packard computers are racist.
Desi found the facial-tracking program is unable to follow the movement of his face as it’s designed to do. Meanwhile, when his co-worker, referred to as White Wanda, steps in front of the screen, the program starts working and it follows her every movements.
“I think my blackness is interfering with the computer’s ability to follow me,” Desi said in the video.
According to Hewlett-Packard, the software is designed to find faces by measuring the contrast between the eyes and upper cheek and nose. It however, fails to do so if the skin complexion is darker.
We believe that the camera might have difficulty “seeing” contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting, HP said in its company blog, referring people to information about optimum lighting for facial-tracking software.
Meanwhile, the company is pledging to work on the problem with its partners.
The YouTube video, under the title “HP Computers Are Racist,” has been viewed more than 75,000 times.
“Hewlett-Packard computers are racist. I said it,” Desi says in the video. “And the worst part is, I bought one (HP MediaSmart computer) for Christmas.”
Hewlett-Packard was up 50 cents to $52.00 just ahead of the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange.
Watch the video below: