1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Facial recognition software rejects Asian man's passport photo because it thinks his eyes are closed

By midian182 · 13 replies
Dec 7, 2016
Post New Reply
  1. Can software be racist? No, though humans can inadvertently design programs that appear racially insensitive, or, as was the case with Microsoft’s Tay chatbot, intentionally turn an AI into a raging hatemonger. Facial recognition systems occasionally fall into the former category; the latest incident saw a New Zealand man of Asian descent have his passport photo rejected because the software thought his eyes were closed.

    Twenty-two-year-old Richard Lee was attempting to renew his passport online but was surprised when the photo checker blocked his picture. “Subject eyes are closed,” read the notification, despite the fact they are clearly open. It seems the software was having trouble with Taiwan-born Lee’s epicanthal folds.

    The engineering student, who is currently studying Aerospace Engineering and Business Management in Melbourne, contacted the Department of Internal Affairs to find out why the system was having a problem with his picture. A spokesperson told him 'uneven lighting on the face' caused it to be rejected, and explained that up to 20 percent of passport photos submitted online are rejected for various reasons, the most common being that the subject’s eyes are closed.

    Lee wasn’t offended by the automated system’s response. "No hard feelings on my part, I've always had very small eyes and facial recognition technology is relatively new and unsophisticated," he told Reuters. "It was a robot, no hard feelings. I got my passport renewed in the end."

    The incident shows that while facial recognition has come a long way, there are still bumps in the road. Last year, Google found itself in trouble after its software labeled two black people in a photograph as “gorillas.”

    Lee said he saw the humor in his situation. “'Some people get offended way too easily because they're not as confident with their origins... At the end of the day we're all different and of course there are certain situations where you have to stick up and some situations it's just a good laugh.” He even uploaded the image below to Facebook.

    Permalink to story.

  2. SirChocula

    SirChocula TS Maniac Posts: 174   +183

    As an asian person, I find this to be absolutely hilarious. I remember in highschool, one of my friends had absolutely tiny eyes, like slits for eyes. We'd always make fun of him and tell him to open his eyes when he's walking.
  3. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 871   +393

    There is nothing racist about traits. The media is so desperate for anything "race" related. Quit already.
    Humza, Wendig0, EClyde and 2 others like this.
  4. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,719   +1,135

    Are you certain? I know I'm not sure...
    Lol that's funny... cause... you know...
    SirChocula likes this.
  5. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,707   +1,946

    Labeling everything as racist is just another way for people to legislate free speech away, just look at what's happening in Europe.

    hate speech, AKA MUH EMOTIONS. No one cares if you're offended. I'd say if you are offended you deserve to be offended. If you care enough about what other people think about you then you deserve everything that comes with it.
    davislane1, SirChocula and Rippleman like this.
  6. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,761   +369

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to many issues with facial recognition to rely on it. Easy to dup, and fails too often. (As far as other reports and articles that I've read to date.)
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,868   +3,311

    Oh, if they are having trouble with eyes, they certainly will fall apart at my earlier challenge to handle identical twins or quads .... oh yeah, there's a whole lot of thinking going on!
  8. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,761   +369

    You've got to care just a little. It's what makes us human, man. If everyone just said "F*ck all everyone else" This world would be even worse than it is already, if that's even possible (lol?) I know caring about what people think about you and saying "f*ck all else" might see like a bit of a leap, but I dont really think it is. If you don't care what anyone else thinks of you, people probably think you are an arsehole., and it's probably for a reason. (Not talking about you specifically, and I dont think you even really intended someone to focus on this one sentence in your post, but I did. Sorry! lol)
  9. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,707   +1,946

    I care about the people who matter in my life and I hope they care about the other people in their life, so on and so forth. Those are the only people in life who's opinions should matter to you. The people who try to offend me have families that they care about and care about them. Joe blow the racist over there? Who the hell is he? If he spends all his trying to piss off black people is his opinion even worth mentioning? We empower these people by caring. Being offended is caring about an irrelevant persons opinion. Or, in short, "don't feed the trolls".
    SirChocula, Trillionsin and wiyosaya like this.
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,285

    Reminds me of the Archie comic book character, Jughead. If you're old enough, you should remember it as well.
  11. koblongata

    koblongata TS Booster Posts: 147   +36

    If you are developing anything serious for the whole world make sure you have a team represents the whole world..
  12. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,707   +1,946

    >facial recognition software isn't %100 accurate yet
    >it's because the workforce isn't diverse enough

    You people are the worst. It's not diversity, it's development. His eyes are so thin it looks like he's squinting because he's stoned.
    koblongata and Trillionsin like this.
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,426   +1,824

    I have to absolutely agree with you on this.

    As I see it, personal empowerment is about how one feels about one's self, not about how everyone else feels about you. If someone is aiming to offend with their words, what does that say about them and how they feel about themselves? I've known people who aim to offend, and the only thing that I can think is that their own sense of self-worth must be sorely lacking to the extent that they must put others down to feel good about themselves.

    To me, life is a mirror. If one sees something in another that they don't like, then perhaps that person should look within themselves for the reason they do not like whatever it is. That is not to say that this is always true, IMO, one should look inside first with as much honesty as possible before calling someone else out.
    SirChocula likes this.
  14. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,761   +369

    Well said, awesome point and totally agree. Yea, you said it much better than I did. lol

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...