27 Sep 2022

Yale University Announced $1 Million Research Project to Combat Racist Hair in Video Game

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Second Life Avatars.

Tennessee Star reports:

Yale University’s Computer Science Department recently announced a $1 million donation given to them from the Bungie Foundation for a research project that fights against racist hair graphics in video games.

“It is widely assumed that the algorithms used to generate virtual humans are based in biological underpinnings that accurately reflect all races and ethnicities,” the announcement reads. “In reality, however, these algorithms are deeply biased and based on predominantly European features.”

The project will be led by Theodore Kim, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Yale.

According to Kim, the project will “serve as an example of how to identify the products of systemic racism in computer graphics and demonstrate how to take concrete steps to ameliorate their harm.”

Kim believes that this racial bias in video game hair stems from Computer Graphics Researchers that have “historically favored the simulation and rendering of straight hair, which is racially coded as European or Caucasian hair.

RTWT

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4 Feedbacks on "Yale University Announced $1 Million Research Project to Combat Racist Hair in Video Game"

Boligat

“historically favored the simulation and rendering of straight hair, which is racially coded as European or Caucasian hair.”

Not sure I get this. Does this mean that game designers are the ones that think that straight hair = European/Caucasian? Or does it mean that Asians/Native Americans/etc. never have straight hair? Or does it mean that curly hair cannot = Caucasians? Or does it mean that non-Caucasian/European designers would like to have characters other than Caucasians/Europeans?

Why does this even matter?

From The Bungie Foundation facebook page: The Bungie Foundation works to reduce distress and suffering in children through entertainment and therapeutic play.

Does this grant mean that children playing video games will reduce stress and suffering if they can have avatars with curly or curlier hair?

Or does this mean that somebody wanted to find a way to insert race into everything anybody might be faced with? And they thought that a grant to a fancy Ivy League university might just fit the bill?



Seattle Sam

I wonder if the players of these video games tend to skew toward “European or Caucasian hair”? Maybe we should screen buyers for the type of hair they have. Or maybe one of the options in the game could be to select the type of hair you want to see. “Bald” might come up a lot.
There is simply no end to the micro aggressions that academics can come up with.



Univ of Saigon 68

Thank God someone is finally addressing the scourge of racist hair in our computer games.



ErisGuy

Apparently the League of Red-Headed Men has been replaced.



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