If you are a regular reader of my ramblings you will know that I never cease to be surprised at what is kept by our customers in the Admiral Storage facility.
Of late I have found that a significant number of our customers are starting to keep hard copies of work that is also stored on computers – not just as a backup of a backup, but also as an extra protection against anyone copying their work.
A typical ploy is to claim that although the work looks similar to that of another person, it was the other guy who did the copying. In short they copy you, but then claim you copied them.
Having a copy of original material sent via recorded delivery to yourself with a very clear date on the package and the package sealed and unopened is one part of the defence mechanism against idea thieves.
This is the process that one company has gone through during its process of working on facial recognition software for cats and dogs. Not, I hasten to say, so that cats and dogs can recognise each other, but so that their owners can recognise lost pets once they are found.
The problem, it seems, is much greater than that of handling issues relation to the facial recognition of people. There is something in the brain of most of us (not all as it turns out) which codes our brain to recognise and remember what people we know look like.
Incidentally, if I may divert for a moment, there is a medical condition called Prosopagnosia, also known as “face blindness”, which is the inability to recognise faces. It is a genetic condition (although it can arise as a result of brain damage) and so cannot be cured. Because it is rarely written about (only 2% of the population are thought to have it) it is a case of a disability relating to not recognising, which is itself not recognised, and so people with prosopagnosia tend to be thought of as stupid, or deliberately pretending not to recognise someone, in order to avoid them.
Anyway, back to the 98% of the population without prosopagnosia… this overwhelming majority of people can recognise people faces, but it seems not dog faces.
Now the owners of dogs and cats will often tell you that they can, of course, recognise their own pet, and phrases such as “I would know him anywhere” are commonplace in this regard.
But what they tend to recognise is the full animal, its behaviour, its movement, and indeed the animal’s recognition of the owner (in particular the owner’s smell) rather than vice versa. In short the animal moves towards the owner and the owner, recognising the basics of the animal’s appearance, and accepts the animal as his/her pet.
Thus all the software systems used for facial recognition systems of humans failed to allow humans to recognise their pets not because the system was wrong, but because humans are not programmed to recognise individual dogs and cats.
So my clients decided to work from a totally different approach and got pet owners to register large numbers of pictures of their pets which can then be used through some clever software processes to flash through on the screen quickly, thus giving a simulation of the essence of the cat or dog, which the distraught owner is more likely to recognise.
The whole process is now copyrighted, trademarked and protected in various other legal ways that I had never heard of, and all the details of that process, along with pictures of thousands of pets are logged on paper, posted to us, signed for by us and stored as proof, if ever needed, that the whole work on the approach was done by our clients first.
A nifty way of using the system.
Except that there was one problem left. None of us has been able to find a name for protecting an idea which might be stolen and then presented as having been thought of beforehand. Our suggestion for a name (pre-cognition temporal delusion) has so far not met with much enthusiasm.
But we are, after all, a storage facility, not a name inventing facility.
Admiral Document Storage
Tel: 0800 810 1125