Passport robot tells Asian bloke to open his eyes

A screenshot of New Zealand man Richard Lee's passport photo rejection notice, supplied to ReutersYou would think that a robot would not have a problem with race – after “all you humans look alike”.

But a Kiwi bloke of Asian descent had his passport photograph rejected when facial recognition software mistakenly registered his eyes as being closed.

Richard Lee’s attempt to renew his passport was blocked after he submitted the picture to an online passport photo checker run by New Zealand’s department of internal affairs.

The automated system told the 22-year-old engineering student the photo was invalid because his eyes were closed, even though they were clearly open.

Of course the story has now been posted on Facebook and the problem of racist robots made public.

Lee however does not blame the technology because it is a new thing and he is an engineer so he knows how pants these things can be when they first come out.

“It was a robot, no hard feelings. I got my passport renewed in the end.”

A NZ government spokesman said that up to 20 percent of passport photos submitted online are rejected for various reasons, an Internal Affairs spokesman said.

“The most common error is a subject’s eyes being closed and that was the generic error message sent in this case,” he said.