Consumer Reports Claims Kinect Is Not Racist

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Consumer Reports Claims Kinect Is Not Racist

image

Despite some claims that Kinect doesn't properly recognize dark-skinned users, Consumer Reports stated emphatically that its tests concluded that was bunk.

GameSpot published a feature on Wednesday which claimed that two dark-skinned employees had trouble with Kinect's facial recognition capabilities when logging in to use their avatar. The "skeletal tracking" of Kinect wasn't a problem and games could be played fine, but GameSpot claimed that the Kinect was often unable to identify users with dark complexions if they wanted to jump into a game in progress. Attempts to calibrate the system for the different complexions didn't yield results. In response, Microsoft said that after internal testing, it was confident that all ethnicities and complexions could use Kinect. Consumer Reports, often a watchdog for faulty products in any industry, released a report today that after extensive testing it found no evidence that Kinect worked differently for different ethnicities.

"While testing out the Kinect, two dark-skinned GameSpot employees experienced problems with the system's facial recognition abilities," GameSpot editor Brendan Sinclair wrote.

Microsoft told GameSpot that its claims were ridiculous. "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." In a later statement, Microsoft blamed the problems on proper lighting: "Kinect works with people of all skin tones. And just like a camera, optimal lighting is best. Anyone experiencing issues with facial recognition should adjust their lighting settings, as instructed in the Kinect Tuner."

Consumer Reports backed up Microsoft's claim. "The log-in problem is related to low-level lighting and not directly to players' skin color," wrote Carol Mangis for the Report (not to be confused with the other Report). "The Kinect camera needs enough light and contrast to determine features in a person's face before it can perform software recognition and log someone into the game console automatically."

The report went on: "Essentially, the Kinect recognized both players at light levels typically used in living rooms at night and failed to recognize both players when the lights were turned down lower. So far, we did not experience any instance where one player was recognized and the other wasn't under the same lighting conditions."

GameSpot plays the race card, and Microsoft and Consumer Reports pulls out the science. I'm sorry, GameSpot. I'm siding with science on this one.

Source: Consumer Reports and GameSpot

Permalink

To my knowledge watching people actually playing Kinect at the latest E3 the problem was that black clothes have trouble being recognized this problem becomes exponential when you do not have proper lighting which to essentially cancel out the black is pretty hard to do when you need a big room.

Who even started this charge anyway of a device being racist? How the heck can an electronic be racist anyway?

That's s shame. I could really see Bill Gates wearing those white robes and everything.

No, not really.

In other news, everybody continues to think that Gamespot is full of shit (proved by Kane and Lynch).

The only thing that surprised me was that Consumer Reports even bothered with these jackasses.

</opinion>

Consumer Reports debunks claims that the Kinect is racist while at the same time perpetuating the stereotype that games journalists exist in dimly-lit environments.

my god gamestop.

Don't let Kanye know!

In all seriousness, Microsoft isn't racist to one single ethnicity.... they think we're all equally gullible piles of money!

If I read one more news article on Kinect I think my head's gonna exlode.

It's probably both a problem of lighting and dark complexion. If they said dark clothing has problems then it seems likely that dark complexion will have some too. Why would GameSpot make something like that up?

Kinect seems to be retty fuzzy about the setup. Pass.

Even if it did, it wouldn't be racist. A program bug isn't capable of being racist.

dex-dex:
my god gamestop.

Not Gamestop, Gamespot. Not much of a difference, though. They both are douchebags.

Tim Latshaw:
Consumer Reports debunks claims that the Kinect is racist while at the same time perpetuating the stereotype that games journalists exist in dimly-lit environments.

This made me Laugh. It was one of those laughs that start inside your head and then into an audible laugh, then subsequently hurting my rib cage.

Tenmar:
To my knowledge watching people actually playing Kinect at the latest E3 the problem was that black clothes have trouble being recognized this problem becomes exponential when you do not have proper lighting which to essentially cancel out the black is pretty hard to do when you need a big room.

Who even started this charge anyway of a device being racist? How the heck can an electronic be racist anyway?

It sounds like someone reported it that way to be sensationalist.

Similar things have been reported with other devices that have trouble tracking black people onscreen, like some web cameras. It was reported in jest, and taken seriously.

I suppose any device that discriminates based on skin colour is TECHNICALLY a racist, though.

supaflystrikes:

dex-dex:
my god gamestop.

Not Gamestop, Gamespot. Not much of a difference, though. They both are douchebags.

Thanks for the correction.
It is hard to tell apart douche bags. is it not?

Wait! Gamespot reporters are tabloid level hacks? Who knew!?!

dogstile:
Even if it did, it wouldn't be racist. A program bug isn't capable of being racist.

That's not a bug, that's a flaw. Skin and race aside aside, if you pointed a sensory camera at a sheet of paper that was super light flesh tones, and super dark brown flesh tones, and it didn't react well to the dark, then that's a flaw in the technology.

A bug would be something preventing the technology (which should function reguardless of hue of flesh) from detecting the darker skin tones.

And a racist bug at that. :)

It's times like this I remember few people actually watched "Better Of Ted"

Ted: The system doesn't see black people?
Veronica: I know. Weird, huh?
Ted: That's more than weird, Veronica. That's basically, well... racist.
Veronica: The company's position is that it's actually the opposite of racist, because it's not targeting black people. It's just ignoring them. They insist the worst people can call it is "indifferent."
Ted: Well, they know it has to be fixed, right? Please... at least say they know that.
Veronica: Of course they do, and they're working on it. In the meantime they'd like everyone to celebrate the fact that it sees Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Jews.

Oh look, dark item in dark room is hard to see. It is kinda a fact of how trying to see things in crap light works. I mean put and albino crocodile and a panther in a dim room and see which people freak out at first. Things that reflect more light are more obvious, things that reflect less are less obvious. I mean, nest thing you know people are going to claim photometers are racist cause they give different reads for different ethnic groups.

Firia:

dogstile:
Even if it did, it wouldn't be racist. A program bug isn't capable of being racist.

That's not a bug, that's a flaw. Skin and race aside aside, if you pointed a sensory camera at a sheet of paper that was super light flesh tones, and super dark brown flesh tones, and it didn't react well to the dark, then that's a flaw in the technology.

A bug would be something preventing the technology (which should function reguardless of hue of flesh) from detecting the darker skin tones.

And a racist bug at that. :)

Oh psh, its still not racist because its not insulting that race. HUMBUG TO YOU SIR! *tips hat and trots off on a Shetland pony*

Temptation to make a racist joke rises fast at an alarming rate.

Must... fight the urge.

Some people just want to criticize something, example: Terrorist Fist Bump

facial recognition cameras can be racist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4DT3tQqgRM

dogstile:
Even if it did, it wouldn't be racist. A program bug isn't capable of being racist.

Ooooh sure, that's what they tell you: "IT'S JUST A BUG!" But we know, WE KNOW! First they stop all the black folks playing, then they take them down to the Escapist baseme

Gotta admit of all possible problems with kinect I wasn't expecting to hear something like this.

Well I don't think Gamespot was lying so whatever. They were speaking pretty specifically. If anything, for triple-A releases, they tend to play up otherwise mediocre products.

I also trust Gamespot to do a more thorough and knowledgable critique of computer game equipment than Consumer Reports.

That said, it's probably a minor issue that can be fixed with an update or two. They were right to report what they saw.

From what I've seen the Kinect creates a pretty good real time body map, but despite that Kinect controls look clunky even getting around the basic interface. It looks good at recognizing whole body motions, but fine motions it might fall apart. None of the games I've seen make me want a Kinect, but at the same time, I think it is possible for a Kinect game to be made that I would like.

Well, the issue I have here is the allegation of racism involved. It would only be racist IMO if the technology could work fine for black people, but the developers decided to intentionally rig it so it wouldn't. As it doesn't seem that Gamespote found any reliable evidence of such tampering, nor claimed to (unless I'm missing something in reading this) I think people are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Still, there doesn't seem to be an issue by other reports, so even if there was a problem it seems to be fixed now.

To be entirely honest though, it does raise an interesting question. As we see more in the way of vistual recognition technology and the like, what happens if we DO see problems like this that are out in the open and not easily correctible.

Let's say that something like "Kinect" for whatever reason won't work for a given ethnicity. Heck, it might be white people, asians, hispanics, blacks, it doesn't matter for the purpose of the arguement. There is no racism involved, or intentionally placed limitations in the product, it just doesn't work with a given skin tone or whatever. Would it be right to punish everyone and hold back the technology, or make a big stink out of it?

I think for there to be racism there has to be some intent there, and I am quite probably missing something, but I am failing to see how anyone could be reading intent into this.

Tim Latshaw:
Consumer Reports debunks claims that the Kinect is racist while at the same time perpetuating the stereotype that games journalists exist in dimly-lit environments.

You win Tim, you win.

Ah yes...the WAYCIST question...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h_u3-mTZug

Gamespot never mentioned the word "racist" and I doubt Consumer Reports did either. That's just spin from the Escapist trying to get a few cheap hits. The only issue raised was level of skin pigmentation and facial recognition by Kinect.

First lol to the 2 guys at gamestop playing videogames instead of working BRAVOOOoooo...

Second i bet microsoft when tests this things they always test in wide open lighted backgrounds...

So the dudes "that should be working" were problably in a already dark place and too close to the recognizer for it to work properly....

Matt K:
It's times like this I remember few people actually watched "Better Of Ted"

Ted: The system doesn't see black people?
Veronica: I know. Weird, huh?
Ted: That's more than weird, Veronica. That's basically, well... racist.
Veronica: The company's position is that it's actually the opposite of racist, because it's not targeting black people. It's just ignoring them. They insist the worst people can call it is "indifferent."
Ted: Well, they know it has to be fixed, right? Please... at least say they know that.
Veronica: Of course they do, and they're working on it. In the meantime they'd like everyone to celebrate the fact that it sees Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Jews.

Great, now I'm going to have to watch all two seasons of the show on Netflix in one day again...

I'm still not sure why anyone pays any attention to reviews and such from either GameSpot or IGN. Both of them are the same crap, just with a different wrapper.

Honestly GameSpot must be stupid if they thought Microsoft didn't make sure this thing would be able to recognize people who aren't white.

Greg Tito:

Microsoft told GameSpot that its claims were ridiculous. "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."Permalink

I love how they say this. They're acting like, for years, black people and overweight people have been excluded from gaming with conventional controllers. Like there are barriers stopping them from using a Dualshock 3, but Kinect comes and breaks down those racists barriers!

It would've been pretty funny if the tests turned out to be real though, and it thought all black people looked the same. I mean, it would've been bad, but it would be kinda funny if the software for Kinect thought they all looked the same. And when an Asian guy pops in, it loads Jackie Chan's profile.

Considering the effort most GameStop employees really put into knowing games and systems being slim to none, I am thinking they forgot to read some of the warnings. Though why a system that actively projects its own light(infrared) to read movements needs other sources of light(not infrared) to help needs a bit of clarity.
Methinks we are starting to see the tip of the iceberg of the flaws in this gizmo.

Brotherofwill:
If I read one more news article on Kinect I think my head's gonna explode.

It's probably both a problem of lighting and dark complexion. If they said dark clothing has problems then it seems likely that dark complexion will have some too. Why would GameSpot make something like that up?

Kinect seems to be retty fuzzy about the setup. Pass.

Might want to plastic up your house because it is gonna get messy in there. We are in for a long haul of a lot of stuff Kinect.

If the 'light levels typically used in living rooms at night' needs to be as bright as the 'usual living room' is large, then it might be a problem.

1. The kinect is racist it hates all humans as in the human race.

2. The computer overlords are coming!

3. We must prepare ourselves!

4. The original claim was stupid.

5. I like this article it is a nice way of saying gamespot you are morons and I have science to back that up.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here