Is Microsoft Kinect Racist?

Kids clamor for Kinect.
Kids clamor for Kinect.

Why is it that facial-recognition technology has such a hard time recognizing black folks? First Hewlett-Packard, now this. GameSpot testing suggests that facial recognition features of Microsoft's motion-sensing camera system might not work properly for some gamers. Part of Microsoft's $500 million marketing push for Kinect includes positioning it as an accessible entertainment device for all audiences. However, it may be more accessible to some than others. While testing out the Kinect, two dark-skinned GameSpot employees experienced problems with the system's facial-recognition abilities. The system recognized one employee inconsistently, while it was never able to properly identify the other despite repeated calibration attempts. However, Kinect had no problems identifying a third dark-skinned GameSpot employee, recognizing his face after a single calibration. Lighter-skinned employees were also consistently picked up on the first try. What's Microsoft saying? "The goal of Kinect is to break down the barriers for everyone to play, and it will work with people of all shapes and ethnicities at launch," says a Microsoft representative. What's The Root saying? We don't think it's intentionally racist, but it is sounding a little like a virtual brown-bag test to us, which definitely needs to be fixed.

Read more at GameSpot.

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