HP Facial Recognition Software is Supposedly Racist
Article by George Norman
On 22 Dec 2009
Let me just start by saying that racism is wrong. No matter what color a person’s skin is, he or she is still a human being. Now if the title got you all hyped up and thinking that HP is racist, let me clarify things for you. There is a YouTube video making the rounds on the internet, featuring retail worker Desi Cryer and his coworker Wanda. Desi is black and Wanda is white. What the two found out is that HP’s facial recognition software does not pick up Desi. But it has no problem following Wanda around.

The whole racism thing started when, on the video, Desi says the following: “I think my blackness is interfering with the computer’s ability to follow me. I’m now on record and I’m saying it: Hewlet Packard computers are racist. I said it!”


On the upside, Desi seemed to take all this in good spirits. He seemed to recognize that this is just a software bug. The thing that seemed to tick off Desi is that he bought a HP computer but he can’t benefit from the facial recognition software’s functionality.

HP has officially stated that it’s facial recognition software is not racist. The reason why it didn’t pick up Desi is probably because the camera “might have difficulty “seeing” contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting.”

Lead Social Media Strategist for HP PSG, tony “Frosty” Welch commented: “Everything we do is focused on ensuring that we provide a high-quality experience for all our customers, who are ethnically diverse and live and work around the world. That’s why when issues surface, we take them seriously and work hard to understand the root causes. Some of you may have seen or heard of a YouTube video in which the facial-tracking software didn’t work for a customer. We thank Desi, and the people who have seen and commented on his video, for bringing this subject to our attention. We are working with our partners to learn more."

Tags: HP, FAcial Recognition, YouTube
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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HP Facial Recognition Software is Supposedly Racist
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