Dec 21 2009This Just In: HP Webcams Are Racist

So apparently HP webcams are racist and the facial-tracking software doesn't work on people of color. This may or may not include green people. To prove the point, two coworkers, Desi (a black man) and Wanda (a white woman) put the cam to the test. Per Desi:

As soon as White Wanda appears, the camera moves. Black Desi gets in there...uh -- nope! No face recognition any more buddy!

Damn HP, you sheisty bigots! And, not to start any wild rumors or anything, but I heard the built-in mic on MacBooks won't pick up your voice if you're Asian. You heard it here first! Unless Apple sues, in which case I copy/pasted it from another, less handsome blog.

is this hp webcam racist? [technabob]

Thanks to Zach, who's convinced almost all computer peripherals are racist in one way or another.

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Reader Comments


i think my trackball is racist

maybe if they smiled when they got their picture taken, the facial recognition might work..... just sayin

A black man sneaking in, now there's a surprise

own the computer before you start complaining.

what a lousy slave.

a lady at my work saw this same thing and was telling me that hp actually is racist, and programmed the webcam not to work with black people. ignorance is alive and well.

Hello Wanda, slide over here please!

HAHA..this is just like that Episode of "Better off Ted"

total racism. i bet they stick pigs up the butt

Lol that episode was hilarious!
And why do black people even need to use computers?

I will bet this is a hoax.


Shame @ The Ignorance Here....

I think HP programmed my dog.

I wonder if that black dude has considered he might already be dead. Would make sense if that while woman is the only one that talks to him.

@17, now that's a plot twist I didn't see coming.

To prove they're not racist, HP today unveiled a surveillance camera that doesn't recognize white people.

You white people are so funny!!! @5, he said he bought one for Christmas, so shut your (tracked) face. The rest of you who are calling this ignorant don't understand the (slight) tongue-in-cheek way he's making a point. Same way that "flesh colored" bandaid don't always match one's flesh. It makes you think that as a consumer that some things aren't meant for you. That's a shitty feeling.

@17 He could also be a vampire.

Microsoft's Project Natal had difficulty with black people as well -- I think it's due to a harder time establishing contrast.

ooh, found an article (& video):$1302668.htm

Very racist indeed !

i saw the tittle and thought it was going to be some stupid rant but this was pretty funny

While the thing is clearly not working, this video is obviously done in a satirical manner.

Internet: We bring out the Sociopath in you!

a so sad... but it does follows the white panda.. i mean wanda!!...ppuuuww almost insulted the panda race x'd

His running commentary is priceless... 'my blackness is interfering'.

Done in very good humor!


you're an idiot.
try using correct lighting cause there's obviously not enough contrast in your black face..


Did anyone else think his voice sounded like Obama?

So now we all sound alike too? Go eff yourself Tyger. Dick hole.

Tyger, that is what I thought when I heard it. That guy shouldn't be working in a store, he should be a comedian or an NBA commentator.

This can't be HP, it has to be a Viridian Dynamics product. "At Viridian Dynamics, we see black people!"



He was holding the camera so it wouldn't move.
Watch as the women comes beside him.
Why does she push him out of frame to the side.
Then there's the sound as he lets go of the camera and then miraculously it starts to move.
Why didn't the camera move when she came into frame?
Racism works both ways!

Well played

I had to mute it because the black guy thought he could talk - oonga boonga!

But srsly, his cheeky grin gives away that they probably disabled facial tracking on the sly while he was in front of it then turned it back on when his white trash ho got on camera.

Racist?? It just ignores folks of color. I mean, if it can be accused of anything it's indifference!!! :P

It took 20 years of listening to people complain about racism to make a racist out of me.

Congratulations Uncle Shit, you're racist and stupid.

#17 - I hear Hollywood a callin'.

I find this quite funny, although I think I know what may be the problem here.
When you watch the video with or without Desi you can see the webcam trying to adjust to the lighting. That fluctuation is normal however that doesn't help when Desi is in frame: keep in mind the light source is behind him.

To me the webcam recognises him as a shadow as there is not as much definition (and contrast) between his skin and facial features compared to Wanda.

Either way, I think they should promptly fix this problem.

HP must have subcontracted Viridian Dynamics.

HP would like to remind it's consumers that the webcams still pick up Asians, Hispanics and most Indonesians.

#19 GW take note... THAT was some funny shit ;)


I'm not ashamed of my racism. EVERYBODY is racist. It's simply a matter of degree and intent.

Stupid I am not. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Real, fake, I don't care. If you go to YouTube and Geekologie for hard-hitting, factual, social issues, you will be quite disappointed.

It was funny enough to be worth the time it took to watch either way.

Notice how the guy in the video and GW can both speak of racism in a comical manner and not look like a fucktard? But half you racist prickholes in the comments are so far gone thinking anyone is superior because of what color your parents were.

no, his voice sounding like Obama's did not cross my mind, nor do i think they sound the same after you asked that question.

that sucks that the web cam won't recognize his face but I did enjoy his commentary during the video :)

wow they made it Obama proof?!


This is so funny. I love when flaws like this are seen.

They arent Racist but the flaw is funny =3

why is all the text in the video mirrored???

@36. silverduece
You retard, he quite clearly has his hands visible in a few shots. Hell he even says "my hands are right here" while showing them.
Swing and a miss...

@10 YES! that's exactly what I was thinking the whole time, which caused me to laugh until i nearly wet myself because I was thinking about Lem and all the black guys on the elavator.

I effing love that show.

Maybe HP is sexist...

go eff yourself, You racist punks need to get your head right and stop being angry over some rumor you heard, Stop hating, If youre going to blame anyone, Blame yourself and, Grow TF up.

For the sake of sake I don't like even being called coloured [yes I am Canadian.] Can't you say people with darker skin? cause wouldn't that be the issue? I mean that dude's face couldn't get much more lit, without it becoming inconvenient, and it seems like that thing would pick up Barrak just fine. ...That i cant spell

maybe it's sexist?

The face recognition software uses the RGB values of the image to recognise a face from the background. HP clearly failed to include a setting to alter the range of recognised values to black skin tones. Seems the most likely explanation.

Maybe the camera isn't racist, it recognises the woman just fine - maybe it's a misandrist?

I was wondering exactly what @51 was. Why the hell is the video backwards? It seems that they were filming themselves in a mirror so that they could tell when and where to turn the camera...or some trick along those lines.

Oh that was hilarious. At least his assumption was legit.

HP doesn't hate black people, so to disprove racism they should have set up the test with all factors covered except color. The test subjects should have been same height, sex, weight, age, religion and sexual preference. So the fact is HP hates men, ALL men.......especially Italians....

i don't want to check the previous 63 comments to see if somebody else said this, so i'll just go ahead:

the camera uses a technique which animals use all the time, it plays dead as soon as it sees a black person, so that it doesn't get stolen!

@59, wrong!

This was a joke, and a funny one in my opinion!

Most face recognition first detect skin color blobs in YUV colorspace in which, guess what? ALL usual skin tones fall into the same UV intervals, almost independently of the luminosity value!
So it works equally on black people, but probably not on smurfs, shreks, and american italian bodybuilders

hahahaha that is truely something really funnny. i cant belive that they are racist

Well... HP does own many Senators and Congressman.. so ... maybe its true.

wtf black people don't need computers they can't even read! why would HP waste time programming this when there is no use... can blacks even figure out how to turn one on?

come to think of it, it is probably just anti-theft programming... it will trick the blacks and they will think it is broken and not steal it... leaving it for the owner to enjoy

Make yourselves white, so the camera can recognize you. Put something like baby powder on your face?

Maybe HP computers are really smart; they are telling the world not to follow a certain U.S. President

Fing N00bs the software has a calibration feature you need run first to recognize your facial features/symetrics. Gawd I hate computer end-users

Ashley Santos,
Go eff yourself you diseased ho bag.
Black People

Guaranted hoax ...

@Ashley Santos: Really, go eff yourself. We don't like you either.
-the White People

@71: No, the computers can't be conservatives, or they'd kill your mic when you start making a valid point they can't debate (the O'Reilly Function). In fact, it's all wrong - they're logical, they look at data instead of spouting bullshit... Not only that, but I've never seen a computer masturbate to pictures of that skank Anne Coulter, so they can't be conservatives.

Nope, computers are clearly liberals. They cost a lot of money, shut down if you try to work them too hard, believe whatever you tell them (as long as it's simple enough for them to process it) and are often more trouble than they're worth. Gotta be liberals.

@Fred: too stupid to use @name I see? Must be a niggerish thing

@Shazaam: you can pretend you are white all you want but your criminal record says otherwise lol

Looks like the computer must not like GRAPE POP AND FRIED CHICKEN lol

I dun see y it doeznt trak us fokes bro thatz sum shiznit and derek wtf iz up wit dat grape pop do yall meen soda? fuck u fried chicken id kill u in tha streetz homy

Nigga stole my facial-tracking software.

is it bad that i just rubbed one out to the ladys face moving back and forth?

1. The video was funny
2. So many of these comments are so offensive! Lighten up guys!

Comments 4, 5, 6, 12, 30, 31, 33, 36, 40, 49, 64, 68, 69, 70, 71, 77, and 78 are such an embarrassment.

LMAO that's hilarious! Surely HP will resolve this but I would love to have that version for novelty purposes. I would tell my white friends it trusts me but it's keeping an eye on you!

& Thank you, Alexandra! :-)

Fred you are bitter little man.

@83 Is it bad that I actually scrolled up multiple times just to re-read those comments you listed?

It kinda looks like they're just zooming in on the frame?

My apologies @Ashley. I didn't want there to be any doubt that I was referring to your stank @ass. Santos doesn't sound all that white either. @85, no one is talking to you, you're feelings and assumptions are irrelevant.

Wow, I love how I seem to be racist by suggesting his voice sounded like Obama. Would I have been called racist if I said the lady's voice sounded like Hilary Clinton? No. I honestly thought the man's voice sounded like president Obama and was just making a note of it. I have a degree in studying speech and vocal pathology. I was intrigued by the man.

[email protected] I see no reason to be called an embarrassment, however I do believe you can be called ignorant. Put you're blinds down, no one wants to see you in your glass house.

We will never be a nation without racism until comments like mine can be taken for their true intention. Everyone is so eager to point a finger that true conversation is lost. I would have thought a website titled geekologie would involve mature and intelligent discourse. I am a 23 year old man and I honestly hope all of these comments are from children or teenagers, because quite frankly, that's how you're acting.

The video was funny...BUT...why all the hateful comments? Must be a pretty lonely existence to be so hateful. Look past the hate and 'color', seriously we're not all that different from each other...although HP seemed to have forgotten that, lol.

My thoughts exactly..but even if there are children and teens here, it's still sad to see the thought process of the next generation, especially the ones that seem to be filled with hate already.

Lol @ blacks.

Damn! HP just got themselves some brand loyalty out of me! Now i know that when my laptop gets stolen, they guy won't be able to do anything with the face tracking. Thanks HP!

It has more to do with poor prooduct testing than racism. They rushed to push it out before Chrsitmas and now they have this crap going on. Microsoft better be taking notes.... its called PRODUCT TESTING!!

Stop pushing out these crappy untested pieces of rubbish!!

As 22 said, the most likely cause is the difficulty in detecting contrast difference when focusing on Desi's face, which would lean more towards the fact that HP webcams are just really crappy. Still though, who's to say this isn't programmed in??

#93 Shut your face, no one likes you.

Interesting statements, racism, contrast and what do black people need computers for? strong words. Ever wondered what the rest of the World thinks about the US! or Africa for that matter. Perhaps HP should have a manual for their cameras and also focus on contrast. There is a lot of PR that needs to be done by them. Please drop the racism issues and let someone from HP say it themselves, they can speak after all.

ugg site

It might be worth contacting HP with the issue, they may not have noticed it during testing. The issue should be fixed with a simple software update. I doubt anyone at HP was actually being racist, but there's always that chance, I suppose.

Long live the robots

I would like to see more thorough research. Perhaps try with more black people, possibly women? And more white people, possibly men? To see if this doesn't have to do with facial features and shape instead of skin color. Funny at the moment, but probably explainable.

Dwayne Tapsa: People would prefer that you used an actual language!

do you need chi or ghd flat iron ,come here

You'd think they'd have caught this before sending it out.

For all the nasty comments and name callin it makes u a racist...think about it....if u search around the internet u'll c that what he's sayin has sum truth behind it........for those jerks who laugh @ it i've never known racism 2 b funny either.....i guess we kno who the owners would've been....LAT

Quite honestly, I hope they're kidding. It's most likely some programming oversight and certainly not racism on behalf of the programmers.

@19 i about fell off my chair i love it...

and to all you who are crying about racesim shut up... just laugh it wont hurt you to start laughing at stuff

@78 nigga stole my bike lolololololol

@fred... you know that whole breathing thing just stop its not working for you

No a racist camera would move away from a black face.

This Just In: Black People Have Dark Skin
...thus making it more difficult for software to detect their motion.

Face tracking system tracks people's face.
It just happens to be that negros are not people.

Buy Apple, even cats are people.

@oldschool. Maybe you should learn to pay attention you stupid racist piece of shit, He said in the video that he bought one for christmas, Why take the time to watch a video if you're not going to pay attention?

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