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Consumer Reports fends off claims of Kinect being racist

A mini-flurry of media buzz hit after GameSpot posted a news article titled, "Kinect has problems recognizing dark-skinned users?" The report claims that "two dark-skinned GameSpot employees had problems getting the system's facial recognition features to work." Later on, it notes, "Lighter-skinned employees were... consistently picked up on the first try."

Once the internet picked up the story, reports of a "racist" Kinect began to spread.

Now Consumer Reports has stepped forward, dismissing GameSpot's story and suggesting that the employees probably just had it calibrated incorrectly or were in a low-light setting.

"Consumer Reports did not encounter this issue with the Kinect and facial recognition when we first tested it," wrote the consumer advocacy group in a blog post. The magazine put Kinect through the exact same test as GameSpot, with one black person standing next to a white person. "At no time did it recognize one player and not the other," wrote Consumer Reports.

After repeated updates and requests for clarification from Microsoft, GameSpot sticks by its observations, but its official stance on the issue is to "abstain" on the scope of the recognition problem, and whether or not skin color has anything to do with it.

Perhaps racist motion cameras only really exist in office sitcoms:

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Nov 5, 2010

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21 comments

  • AdonisX82 - November 5, 2010 10:43 p.m.

    I can honestly see that. It's like if you were to take a black shirt. From a distance, you probably would'nt notice any wrinkles or anything like that, but on white shirt, you would, cause of shadows and such. Not a great ananlogy, but I could see it.
  • AdonisX82 - November 5, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    whoops, "analogy", and that clip was funny
  • ventanger - November 5, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    Kanye West: Bill Gates doesn't care about black people! Mike Meyers: :o
  • WickedSid - November 5, 2010 10:47 p.m.

    Well, as shown in the video, Kinect isn't exactly racist as it doesn't target dark-skinned users, it just ignores them, so the worst they can call it is indifferent. Ha! Better Off Ted is a pretty good office sitcom.
  • 8bitBaby - November 5, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    @AdonisX82 gawd that's a HORRIBLE analogy... no body is that black... it frikkin brown. brown skin. gawd. dark brown at best. not black, like the guts of space or a t-shirt. DX but yah that clip is funny. XD recaptcha: mastadon scurue
  • Clovin64 - November 5, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    Stop Press: Kinect is Racially Indifferent!
  • Eaxis - November 5, 2010 11:13 p.m.

    It's so dumb to think that there is any racism involved with kinect.
  • AnonymouZ - November 5, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    oh my god, HIDE THIS FROM THE TROLLS... shit... too late. watch out for racist ads courtesy of 4chan and the interwebs
  • RandyChimp - November 5, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    I'm black and my Kinect called the police and planted cocaine on me. I jest, I'm not black and I have no plans to fund Microsoft!
  • oryandymackie - November 5, 2010 11:41 p.m.

    Fail.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - November 5, 2010 11:44 p.m.

    I love it when people think things like this are racist. It's hilarious.
  • ninjastovall0 - November 5, 2010 11:57 p.m.

    ... is that why the terminators never attacked black people. were all screwed
  • Shagnasty - November 6, 2010 midnight

    You think it'd be easier if they just smiled and opened their eyes really wide. How could you not track that? Oh wait, I'm thinking of the Sexual Offender Tracker app.
  • Spybreak8 - November 6, 2010 1:16 a.m.

    I love Better Off Ted, didn't they cancel that show. Morons Also I love how everyone calls it racist as it's a freakin machine people!
  • Apollomasque - November 6, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    The Kinect doesn't hate black people...it just chooses to ignore them.
  • BlindMarksman - November 6, 2010 4:45 a.m.

    It´s the HP case all over again...
  • ShaneCedt - November 6, 2010 5:21 a.m.

    Kayne West joke? Nah... This Kinect thing is amusing to me. How many Kinect games are going to be honestly worth buying? Or is Kinect going to go the Wii route and just be mainly chock full of shovelware crap?
  • Kenzo - November 6, 2010 6:05 a.m.

    as if kinect wasn't a big enough joke already.
  • jmcgrotty - November 6, 2010 6:16 a.m.

    @8bitBaby: Of course when people call african americans "black" they aren't being 100% literal. Do you think a white person (which someone would have no problem saying) is as white as the (non-grey) background of this website?
  • BoltActionRevolver - November 6, 2010 6:28 p.m.

    In all fairity, I reflect more light, due to a lack of pigment that is painfully obvious due to insta-sunburns, in low light situation over my much darker pigmented friends. It just shows that if your going to be playing something that might need mood lighting, don't. Truth be told, Sony doesn't have this problem. They welcome people of all skin color as long as you have hands :P

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

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