Hewlett-Packard is scrambling to respond to an issue brought up by a Dec. 10 YouTube video demonstrating that the facial tracking software used in some of its laptops doesn't recognize black people.
HP responded to the issue yesterday in its blog, and it's starting to go viral today.
In the light-hearted but pointed video, black "Desi" and white "Wanda" show how the software tracks Wanda but not Desi, even though they're in the same room, at the same angle, with the same lighting. The tracking works when Wanda enters the frame, and stops working when Desi enters.
A mortified HP blamed the problem on insufficient contrast between the eyes and the skin of the upper cheek and nose. "We believe that the camera might have difficulty "seeing" contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting," HP said, referring people to information about optimum lighting for facial-tracking software.
Meanwhile, the company is pledging to work on the problem with its partners.