Saturday, November 6, 2010

#453. Motion Tracking Technology

Technology. Innovation. The advancement of science through sagacious and extraordinary minds thinking outside the known, thereby creating the unfathomable and ultimately improving the condition of mankind.

Many of these men, considered the proverbial 'mad scientist' for their eccentricities, perceived and put in motion the first inkling of what we take for granted today. What started as a byproduct of a back-of-the-napkin sketch became technology that slowly transformed society.
Motion Tracking Technology is racially exclusive

Though metallurgy is largely absent from the history of Africa and 'mad scientists' don't necessarily conjure up images of Black people (unless you include Fictional Black History Month characters, such as Eddie Murphy's Profesor Klump), the Super Soaker is a gadget that sprang forth from a Black mind like Athena to vastly advance water cannon technology.

Today the best minds are no longer bothered by the burden of thinking outside the box to create awe-inspiring machines or technologies that mediocre minds could scarcely dream of, but instead work upon improving Muslim relations or creating the most realistic video game experience outside of Tron.

Video games are a medium that rivals the film industry in revenue and product advancement through technological innovation, and sadly, the designers of most of these games are white.

Computer and software engineers have the habit of being a monochromatic bunch, devoid of the blessed diversity that is the bedrock of Black Run America (BRA).This is a crisis for the video game industry, with a general lack of Black people involved in the actual coding and designing of the virtual worlds that so many people spend countless hours immersed in.

Recently, Microsoft released a new gaming console called the Kinect, a motion-sensing based technology that seeks to cut into Nintendo's market share of the next generation gaming devices (Wii). Problems arose quickly in the testing phase of the product:

Source: In testing the Kinect, two dark-skinned GameSpot employees had problems getting the system's facial recognition features to work. 

What we heard: 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.
It's important to note that the problems were only experienced with the system's facial recognition feature and don't prevent users from playing Kinect games. Skeletal tracking, a primary means of controlling games with Kinect, appeared to work the same for all GameSpot employees. 

The system's inability to recognize a user only means that he or she would need to sign in manually and some games' features may not work properly as a result. For example, when a second player joins in to Kinect Adventures during the title's drop-in, drop-out multiplayer, the system can't bring up that player's proper in-game avatar automatically if it can't identify the new user first. 
 PC Magazine quickly went to bat for Microsoft, downplaying the racial significance of this horrific oversight.

This isn't the first time that a technology has failed to identify Black people, as HP came under fire just last year when a motion-tracking webcam had a similar inability to track Black people:

Can Hewlett-Packard's motion-tracking webcams see black people? It's a question posed on a now-viral YouTube video and the company says it's looking into it.

In the video, two co-workers take turns in front of the camera -- the webcam appears to follow Wanda Zamen as she sways in front of the screen and stays still as Desi Cryer moves about.

HP acknowledged in a statement e-mailed to CNN that the cameras may have issues with contrast recognition in certain lighting situations. The webcams, built into HP's new computers, are supposed to keep people's faces and bodies in proportion and centered on the screen as they move.

The video went viral over the weekend, garnering more than 400,000 YouTube page views and a slew of comments on Twitter.

It was something neither Zamen nor Cryer expected to happen.

Zamen said she and Cryer, her co-worker, were playing around with the computer at work and testing it when they stumbled upon the facial recognition feature.

Cryer and Zamen said they were laughing when they realized the camera followed her and not him.
"We thought it was pretty funny, we thought it was hilarious," Zamen said.

So they made a video, which they planned to just share with friends on Facebook and YouTube. There was no script, no rehearsal, just two friends filming what they thought was a hilarious software glitch.
So again, the two took turns in front of the camera.

"As soon as my blackness enters the frame, it stopped," Cryer says in the video.
That new advances in technology would fail to recognize Black people in 2010 is a sure sign of a discriminatory strain running through the blood of computer scientists designing this exclusionary equipment.

The lack of Black people studying computer science makes one wonder whether the inability for motion sensing technology to "see" Black people isn't nature's way of making a cruel point:

Black people are so underrepresented in computer science that the term "black computer scientist" might be considered an oxymoron.

African-Americans represent about 13 percent of the U.S. population but less than 6 percent of all faculty members at American colleges and universities. In the field of computer science, however, they make up only 1.3 percent of the faculty, according to the Computing Research Association's widely used "Taulbee Survey Report."

Given the evolving role that information technology plays in our day-to-day lives, one would think that more blacks would be pursuing computer science. So why are we not producing American-born black computer-science professors? Since the two of us fall into that category (and are, we hope, professionally successful), we hear this question all too often: Why aren’t there more like us?

The presumed answers are many. Are black students not interested in or adequately exposed to computing fields? Are they not prepared? Or, as some may wonder (but will never say), do black students lack the aptitude to succeed in computer science? {snip} Is it unreasonable to assume that students would not gravitate to a field that has so few people who look like them?

Several scholarly studies have suggested that African-Americans tend to select occupations in which they have had contact with successful black role models. {snip}

We wonder if black students receive different instruction. Among science and math graduate students, 17 percent of black students reported publishing journal articles, while the figures for other groups were 49 percent for Asians, 42 percent for Hispanics, and 47 percent for whites, according to Three Magic Letters: Getting to Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).
 Miles Dyson is just a movie character. In reality, Stuff Black People Don't Like includes motion tracking technology, for it is designed by white people and habitual fails to identify Black people, excluding them participating in joys of innovation.

Black people always have the Super Soaker to fall back on, if motion tracking technology continues to leave them wet from the perspiration that flows from Black rage toward exclusionary innovations.


Hirsch said...

Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man," made flesh, sort of. I remember during basic training in the Army, a very un-PC drill instructor flat out told the black soldiers that they camoflauged better and required less paint. Thus, perhaps there is some advantage to be had in this technology, for black people. Imagine if this tracking software went full-on immersive, with gameplay similar to something like "Counter-Strike," in player vs player mode. If you were black, you could sneak up undetected on your opponent and bust a virtual cap in his ass.

In the spirt of this post, let me submit some of my favorite "You're so black," jokes that I remember from high-school. I spent a lot of time in detention in a mixed race school, so I have heard them all:

"You're so black, you went to night school and the teacher counted you as absent."

"You're so black, you could leave fingerprints on charcoal."

"You're so black, when you eat tootsie rolls you have to wear gloves to keep from eating your own fingers."

"You're so black, you showed up to a funeral naked."

(In Dave Chappelle voice) "Ah, darknesses!!! You can get a new couch, what I'm 'posed to do bout my legs, Eddie Murphy???!!!"

Anonymous said...

what stupidity from black people!

Surveillance cameras do not get their dark face and they complain?

Come on, while comitting crimes this is really useful.

I bet this was done on purpose, identifying blacks while they commit a crime is racist.

Desiree said...

Saltine, please. Black people have made more things than the Super Soaker.

So, let me see: it is a conspiracy on the part of blacks to de-emphasize and 'cover-up' our 'failure' as a race when we mention all of the inventions we have made but really have not made?

You want me to believe that black people, who have had no power in the Western world in which we reside, have colluded together to 'lie' about our lack of accomplishments throughout history, making it seem as if we have done something when we have not?


And it is blacks who are wrong when we say whitey wants to cover up our achievements?


I don't know if said technology mentioned above is racist but it definitely says something about the de facto 'faces' people choose when they create a product with this type of innovation.

And it has nothing to do with blacks not being in the computer field.

So, you have never sat on the couch flipping through channels and said, 'Wow, everyone on TV is white.'?

Movies, print ads, billboards, etc., etc. The list goes on and I am sure you've noticed it.

And then to write so flippantly in this entry about the problem with this face recognition technology NOT having ANY CORRELATION WHATSOEVER with those irrefutable facts listed above, that white faces are used as a de facto template but possibly with the fact blacks are not in the computer field?

Again: Wow!

I had offered shit in a shoebox to another commenter from this site but I have recently got in a new shipment. There is some for you, too, SBPDL.

Wow! Not that my expectations weren't low...

Anonymous said...

"Saltine, please. Black people have made more things than the Super Soaker."

Yes, they have the highest murder rate, the highest rape rate, the highest violent crime rate, the highest illegitimacy rate, the highest dropout rate, the highest illiteracy rate, the highest incarceration rate, etc etc

You dumb fucking whore.

Anonymous said...


Cry me a river

These are always funny. Blacks claim to have invented everything from peanut butter to the light bulb. Funny how they are all still sitting in mud huts in Africa, huh?

Black Invention Myths

laz said...

"You want me to believe that black people, who have had no power in the Western world in which we reside, have colluded together to 'lie' about our lack of accomplishments throughout history, making it seem as if we have done something when we have not?"

Hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what has been done. Everyone lies to make themselves look better, it just happens a lot more when a criminal underclass does it.

Anonymous said...

"These are always funny. Blacks claim to have invented everything from peanut butter to the light bulb. Funny how they are all still sitting in mud huts in Africa, huh? "

Do not forget women.

Women invented everything. you know, Beethoven was a black lesbian. Shakespeare was a woman dressed as a man. Tesla? A girl.

Open any modern history book.

Egyptians? Blacks. Probably all black females, reproduced by parthenogenesis.

Ask Desiree. Brad Pitt? Black.

Anonymous said...

"Saltine, please. Black people have made more things than the Super Soaker."

Yes, the list of black contributions is a long one:
Highest Murder Rate
Highest Rape Rate
Highest Violent Crime Rate
Highest Illegitimacy Rate
Highest AIDS Rate
Highest Dropout Rate
Highest Illiteracy Rate
Highest Incarceration Rate
Etc Etc Etc

You must be so proud Deziarrhea.

Desiree said...

Actually, more proof for my theory of white faces as de facto template:

I remember a news story about an Asian camera company's camera not being able to recognize Asian people's eyes as being open in a group shot. They were always seen as blinking or squinting, thus, according to the camera software, the photo could not be taken. White people's (and black people's) eyes could be detected, though.

To think, Asian camera manufacturers would not even fix that kink?!

Well, they do tend to be the most oddly self-hating group around.

I remember reading that a Japanese politician said if all Japanese ate McDonald's for X amount of years, they'd turn into tall Nordic blondes, LOL.

Anonymous said...


"I don't know if said technology mentioned above is racist"

Yes, girl, "said technology mentioned above" is racist. (By the way, I love how your ebonics accent shines through even when you try to write like an educated person.) In fact, all computer technology is racist. The entire subject of mathematics is also racist. When your car breaks down, your car is racist. Oh, excuse me, I meant "racis'."

You're one racist, crazy bitch, Desiree.

Sicko DeMilo said...

They're just another example of intelligent design. God's perfectly camouflaged night-time thief. (or maybe its just arrested evolution).

Anonymous said...

This is f'ing hilarious. I feel sorry for these companies when Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get wind of this "outrage." Lawsuits will follow very soon. Jesse and Al gotsta get paid nigga.

Anonymous said...

Actually while flipping through the channels I notice an over representation of blacks in relation to their 13% or so of the population. Whites are seen most of course because they are the majority. Of course spanish people are a bit under represented but are quickly closing the gap. Since blacks want "equality" then I guess the TV execs. should make sure that all programming should be populated in direct proportion as the actual population figures. As blacks are way over represented and included in almost every commercial/tv show/as news anchors etc. then their appearances should actually be much less. News reporters are a glaring example as every news channel has to have a black person reading the news. An outsider would think the US is more like 40% black if that's all they watched on tv. Equality for all right? Of course "equality" to blacks means something much different, namely superiority. Childlike selfishness.

MIss Ann said...

"I remember reading that a Japanese politician said if all Japanese ate McDonald's for X amount of years, they'd turn into tall Nordic blondes, LOL."

A Japanese politician? Umm, not exactly.

You have all of Google at your fingertips yet you still can't get it right.

Typical. An empty black suit.

Desiree said...

"You're one racist, crazy bitch, Desiree."

How? (And I'm not ebonic, although that was probably worded awkwardly.)

There is no logical reason, for example, for an ASIAN-MADE CAMERA not to pick up ASIAN EYES!

How is that possible?

Oh, yes, it is because manufacturers, regardless of their origins, use the white face as a de facto template to create products. Because it is white people they sell to and who they market to.

How can you not see it?

I don't think I'm a conspiracy theorist... It just seems likes marketing (typical racial hierarchy issues applied) to me.


@ laz:

"Hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what has been done. Everyone lies to make themselves look better, it just happens a lot more when a criminal underclass does it."

Really? There is a book I have called 'Destruction of Black Civilization' and it talks about the systematic cover-up of black achievement.

Is the author a liar? Is he writing fantasy fiction?

Every black historian, anthropologist, etc. who writes a book such as the aforementioned (author is Chancellor Williams), they are opposed so vociferously by whites.

I was in a Western History survey class my freshman year and the teacher, and she was fantastic, immediately said 'Egyptians weren't black'. It's like a dogma, seeing that Egypt, of course, was taken--SEIZED--by the West!

Egypt is in Africa...? Yes... She's Africa's daughter.

So every black is lying?? Really? It's a vast conspiracy to make Whitey look bad??

If you believe that... well, like I said before: I have something to sell you, too!

Anonymous said...

"Really? There is a book I have called 'Destruction of Black Civilization' and it talks about the systematic cover-up of black achievement."

That fairy tale has been debunked about a million times.

Anonymous said...

"Egypt is in Africa"

And Russia is in Asia.

When you speak of "Asians", are you referring to Russians?

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, when trying to write historical fantasies about Black civilizations try stealing the accomplishments of a people who didn't preserve their bodies to the point where mummies have visibly red/blond/brown hair. Ramsies was a redhead, tutencomon was blond. Egyptian desets are full of mummies, natural and artificial, with perfectly preserved DNA. They were genetically Helenistic and Semetic, not Negroid.

Anonymous said...

This a rather old story that has already been proven to be bullshit.

-Black guy

Anonymous said...

You're all a bunch of fucking morons in here. It has nothing to do with racism. It's just that their skin color does not reflect the infrared light as well as someone with lighter skin. Go shine a laser at a white wall. Now shine it on a black wall. See the difference? This is not rocket science, people.

As for the asian cameras that someone was droning on about... again... it's just a defect in the technology. In this case, I'm going to assume it's software based. In that camera somewhere is an algorithm that determines whether or not a person's eyes are partially or completely closed. Unfortunately, whoever wrote that specific algorithm didn't account for asian features.

Now cut the racism bit as it has absolutely NOTHING to do with technology.