Latest By

Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Space Tech
Virtual Person

"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Separated At Birth Database  
  Missing persons database uses similarity to famous people.  

What is the best way to ask people if they've seen a missing person?

"Tommy Lee Jones," the black man said... "You look like him.."


"Was an actor, man... You Rydell. Ran you on Separated at Birth."

Separated at Birth was a police program you used in missing persons cases. You scanned a photo of the person you wanted, got back the names of half a dozen celebrities who looked vaguely like th subject, then went around asking people if they'd seen anybody lately who reminded them of A,B,C... The weird thing was, it worked better than just showing them a picture of the subject. The instructor at the Academy in Knoxville had told Rydell's class that that was because it tapped into the part of the brain that kept track of celebrities.

From Virtual Light, by William Gibson.
Published by Bantam in 1993
Additional resources -

As far as I know, there is no existing example of this idea in use by police agencies. However, there is a site called MyHeritage Face Recognition that will allow you to upload a face and find out which celebrity you might resemble.

I tried it with a picture of Tommy Lee Jones - and the site correctly recognized the actor. I then picked at random a picture of Jesse James, the famous 19th century American outlaw. MyHeritage thinks that he closely resembles Alan Turing, the 20th century mathematician.

Thanks to John for pointing this one out.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Virtual Light
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Virtual Light
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

Separated At Birth Database-related news articles:
  - Lookalike 'Wanted' Leaflet Features Harry Potter Actor

Articles related to Computer
Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
LineFORM MIT's Shape-Changing Interface
Piper, Google's 2 Billion Line Code Repository, Needs A Cool Display
Digital Immortality For Your Personality

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.





Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.





More News

ANNABELL AI Can Learn English From Scratch
'...Could understand not only classic programming but also Loglan and English..."

Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
'Then a pressure on the lips...'

Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
'George Walt... proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
'That moisture trickles down...'

Senate Passes Space Mining Legislation
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite...'

Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...'

Police Use Predictive Maps ala 'Minority Report' Routinely
'...the data-receptors, and the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Tesla Autopilot Road Trip 2995 Miles, 57 Hours
'The beautiful old car cruised ... under the guidance of its automatic controls...'

The 'Marching Mountains' Of Pluto
Calling Captain Future!

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.