Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 842 - Maybe They're Right

While browsing through the thousands of pictures on our computer, I decided to use Picasa's face-matching technology to name tag our photos. For you non-geeks out there, all that means is that you have the ability to attach a person's name to their face on a photo. It's pretty neat, but not always perfect. Repeatedly, the program kept on confusing my face with a bunch of donkeys from the photos I took on our jackass safari last summer.

As I went through the photos that were automatically organized by face, I was shocked to see so many errors. Photos of Andrew were in Emma's folder. Photos of Emma were in Andrew's folder. Photos of our niece and nephews were in Emma's and Andrew's folder. Photos of jackasses mating were in my folder. It was mass confusion and disorganization.

While tediously renaming and reorganizing the photos, a realization hit me: Picasa is racist. The program thinks all Asians look alike. And we all know all Asians don't all look alike -- except for the few times people mistook me for Connie Chung because I decided to wear a dress to work. How dare Google publish a program that blatantly reinforces this stereotype. Sure, all Asians have black hair, brown eyes, almond-shaped eyes, and a bowl haircut until their formative teenage years. But that's still no excuse!

I was going through all of the small thumbnail photos in Andrew's folder trying to find all of the pictures that were not him. It was basically a mixture of every Asian person I created a name tag for. And then it happened. I started to have a difficult time figuring out if certain photos were Andrew or not. Was this Emma or Andrew? A cousin or Andrew? Hideo Nomo or Andrew?

For a moment, I thought I might've been too harsh on Picasa. Perhaps there are some basic similarities with Asians that may make it difficult to differentiate one from another. This could be especially true when you are looking at baby pictures since almost all babies regardless of race have strikingly similar features.

But I quickly changed my mind. There was no way I was going to be forgiving towards a multi-billion dollar company for putting out a racist face-matching program. So I'm sticking to my original belief with one new addition: I must be racist too. So screw you, Google, and screw me, you jackass!

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