Is Photos Racist, or Just Terrible Face Recognition?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Mac 128, May 16, 2019.

  1. Mac 128 macrumors 603

    Mac 128

    Apr 16, 2015
    I just imported my photo library into Photos for the first time and let it run face recognition on my entire library overnight. Today, I noticed almost all of the photos featuring my black friends appeared lumped together and identified as the same person. That did not happen for any pictures of my friends of other races.

    So ... this can't be normal?
  2. niji Contributor


    Feb 9, 2003
    why on earth you would jump onto the conclusion you did is beyond me.
    if the result is what you say, then i would have first thought it had only to do with the amount of light being reflected back to the lens in order for the optics and software to make what ever it is being captured to be more distinct in less than optimal lighting conditions.
  3. Mac 128 thread starter macrumors 603

    Mac 128

    Apr 16, 2015
    Ha. The title is a bit tongue in cheek. Not meant to be taken seriously.

    That said, I assure you not every affected photo suffers from that problem. Some are indeed soft lighting, but many of them are well lit. I would also point out that many of the photos for people of other races definitely suffer from poor lighting, yet there does not seem to be any issues with distinguishing them.

    So in the absence of any settings I can tweak, I just have to assume this is an unfortunate limitation of the software.
  4. Janichsan macrumors 68000


    Oct 23, 2006
    You joke, but it's a known issue that facial recognition algorithms are often (unintendedly) biased due to the image material used to train them.

    At least Photos didn't label your black friends as "gorillas" as it happened with Google's algorithm not too long ago.

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3 May 16, 2019