Hewlett-Packard admits its 'computers are facing a racist' problem

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Melbourne, Dec. 23 (ANI): Software giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) has admitted that its new face-tracking webcam has "issues" with black users.

The issue attracted worldwide attention this month, when a US man known as "Black Desi" posted a YouTube video that showed his HP webcam - built in to its new computers - refusing to track his face.

According to news.com.au, the webcam was developed to enhance live conversations and is supposed to follow the user in all directions and zoom in and out.

Titled "HP computers are racist", the YouTube video quickly attracted some 500,000 hits and showed Black Desi's webcam working as it should when his work colleague "White Wanda" stepped in front of the camera, but when "Black Desi" got in front, no face recognition took place.

The video, which was part tongue-in-cheek, has sparked worldwide debate in the online community, with websites and forums split between discrediting the clip - claiming it's a lighting issue - or attacking HP for "inherent racism".

HP is taking the matter seriously, admitting there was a problem with lighting that they say "other webcams also struggle with".

"We thank Desi, and the people who have seen and commented on his video, for bringing this subject to our attention," it said in a blog on its help page.

"The technology we use is built on standard algorithms that measure the difference in intensity of contrast between the eyes and the upper cheek and nose. We believe that the camera might have difficulty 'seeing' contrast in conditions where there is insufficient foreground lighting," the blog added. (ANI)

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