I have to say
"low-contrast racial origin" had me laughing
Hewlett Packard is looking into claims that some of its TouchSmart webcams demonstrate an unwillingness to interface with black people, as shown in this YouTube vid: Tony Welch, described by PCWorld as "lead social media strategist for HP's Personal Systems Group", explained in a blog post over the weekend: "The technology …
Actually "low-contrast racial origin" would indicate *white* people against a glaring *white* background. Or white faces with white teeth, or white faces with eyes (which are partially white).
I would even argue, the coloured skin more clearly shows light rays, so it should be easier to figure out what the guy is doing...
Have you noticed how the camera, though, detects the male person on the righthand side and focusses in on him? A clear indication that the software knows that there is a person there... A coloured face (as an abstract object) is not much different from a white face....
So what this really shows, is, as usual, that HP is making (or better: selling) stuff that doesn't work, and as explanation you get a whole bunch of shit that really is off-target.
I wish they could go back to the one thing they did alright: Making RISC Processors.
that auto-face tracking web cams are horrible to use and make you feel sick watching them as they swing back and forth, zoom in and out....just don't do it to me.
It would be fairly amusing if they'd overlooked the large portion of the world's population who aren't caucasian.
There is nothing new to this. Webcams have had this tech for more than 6 years, with the same problems. Recently a friend told about an HMI (Human-Machine Interaction) project he worked on in the 1990's. There software used facial recognition and eyeball tracking for controlling a computer. They suffered from the same problem: poor contrast with people with dark skintones made the recognition software fail.
good point Dale! the assumption is difference of skin colour but could be gender, hair length or...maybe even....sexual orientation! who knows what this webcam is 'thinking'! - beep subject one straight - subject 2 gay - subject 3 indeterminate - beep
reminds of the conclusion that spiders have ears on their legs coz when you pull their legs off they no longer walk when told to - coz they are now deaf (obviously a trained spider was used in the experiment )
Very funny TV show and episode. The automatic door sensors in the building got a firmware upgrade and were unable to recognize black people. The company was forced to hire white people to accompany the black people to open the doors. Then realizing that this caused a racial imbalance in hiring, they were forced to hire more black people etc. ... until somebody forced a system crash and reset to default firmware. Life mimics art - or, is this type of "racial discrimination" story silly enough for everyone yet?
they had a similar problem with people of African origin - their facial details were hard to determine on TV cameras.
The street lights were the problem so they developed a light that causes dark skin to fluoresce slightly and thereby reveal more of their facial details. These lights are deployed predominantly in neighbourhoods where such people live.
The other potential offered by the discriminating TV is that people of ill intent could blacken their hands and faces and become invisible.
Isn't technology wonderful?
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I am not about to accuse HP of any form of "conspiracy" against our "low contrast" brothers and sisters but one has to ask how a product development department in one of the biggest tech companies on the face of the planet managed to miss the fact that, under average lighting conditions, their technology does not work properly with the large majority of our fellow earthlings - hmmm? We do not need to start to scream about racism, we just need to point out that our dear brothers and sisters at HP are a touch (what shall we say?) provincial.
Yo, and all that kind of thing.
Weren't there similar reports of Microsoft having similar problems with their uber-EyeToy system a.k.a Project Natal - couldn't see black people posturing before it?
Google says: http://www.gamezine.co.uk/news/formats/xbox360/rumour-project-natal-struggles-see-darker-skin-$1302668.htm
My very Neanderthal editor of 20 years ago used to have a similar problem with contrast recognition. When asked why there were so few pictures of non-whites in the paper, he would claim to anyone that would listen that they were "too dark" for the skin tones to repro properly on cheap newsprint - however flat and light (how we used to do B+W prints for the rag) the prints we did for him were. The real giveaway was the overly sincere tone of regret he'd employ when telling all and sundry of this.
Funny coincidence though; the properties of newsprint and presses changed dramatically just after he left, and the new ed didn't have the same problem.
But WTF is this facial recognition software meant to be used for? If I'm chatting to someone I don't want to see only their face, be it for the "other" kind of chat or not. If I'm chatting to my mate across the world, then his wife and kid will be somewhere in frame so does it sweep between the three of them? Is this another case of shiny and clever, yet pointless, tech?
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