I know you, but I don’t know from where

It seems to happen in degrees.

Case one: At lunchtime yesterday I passed one guy in the street who I knew I knew, but couldn’t quite place. He knew me too; we exchanged grins. Thinking about it later, I’m pretty sure I’ve worked out where he’s from.

Case two: Then on the way back I passed another guy who greeted me by name, but I can’t place at all.

Case three: Someone else I ran into a few days ago said “Hi Daniel, how are you?” and all I could vaguely say back was “Good thanks!” as it took my brain a few seconds to register who he was. Gary. Oh, he’s gone.

Case four: passed a guy in a lift lobby. Ah, at last someone I can positively and instantly identify and greet. Hi Jim.

1 out of 4 isn’t a great hit-rate. Maybe someone can come up with a pair of sunglasses with a heads-up display and face-recognition software of some kind for this type of thing. Wouldn’t that be handy?

HUD v3

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “I know you, but I don’t know from where”

the thing is, the technology’s all there – a HUD (tick), some facial recog software (tick), and why not just get it to talk to your facebook friend’s photos (where people are conveniently “tagged”)? Bingo.

Don’t forget that you’re a bit more high-profile than some of us. I would say hello to you too, as I feel I know from here and the TV, etc, but wouldn’t expect you to know me.

I must add that I have awful trouble remembering where I know people from … but that could just be old age encroaching.

I’m pretty good at recognising a face and the name pops right into my memory… I’ve been known to approach people in the shop and ask them if they went to my primary school, and then when I get confirmation, I say “?”. Always on the money…

But the reverse isn’t true… say a name and I’ll struggle to picture who you’re talking about.

True, Frank. But in many of these cases I know I know the person from somewhere; it’s not complete strangers saying hello (though I still can’t figure out where the second guy was from!) Always happy when people say hello though!

I have had this happen to me too. Some people I can remember very well and others know me by name (well, not very many people in Australia yet) and I just cannot remember them. I do pride myself on my photographic memory and I can remember just about everything I have ever seen and every location that I have been to but sometimes people escape this.

I would say hello to you too if I saw you although you would have no way to know what I look like. The only clue would be my strong American accent. I do “sort of” know you from reading this blog for the past several years and you would probably quickly connect me in person to my regular comments. Perhaps we will cross paths as we both live in Melbourne and I would like to meet you in person sometime and see if you could guess who I am.

This topic was covered a while ago in a programme called Sleek Geeks on the ABC. It had Dr Karl (who’s surname I can’t spell, let alone pronounce) and Adam Spencer. It talked all about facial recognition and how some people are fabulous at it partly due to how they look at a person when they’re speaking to them and others are dreadful. They highlighted it during a Dr Karl book signing by sending a guy in looking slightly different each time with a different name. It took Dr Karl several times before he started asking questions.

I get a *lot* of this from people whov;e been on my tours and so get used to seeing and hearing me but who I often don’t remember. (I have a very bad memory for names.)

Thus, people sometimes come up to me in shops and things and say “hello” or even start telling me that they enjoyed something and I have no idea who they are or what tour they went on!

The most extreme example was while waiting in casulaty with a fractured shoulder having people from a tour wanting to be *photographed* with me!

Must put something to this effect on my Blog!

It’s all a bit beyond me, i havn’t touched the net in years, it’s a little sticky and hard to get rid of, the problem with “personal heads up” is the hackers, I don’t think I could trust my memories to digital, hardwired hard
drive to the brain may seem like the temptation or every nerd to universal knowledge, but if you don’t know how to apply such knowledge in a practical manner, it is less than useless, it is dangerous……when did I start answering to the machines? the mobile, the gps the email address, the automatic teller?, why do the things I purchase dictate how I live?

Hi danny, if i find those strike videos on the net I am going to beat you to death with a w-class<<2nd threat
That is if we can keep them in service and I have one handy.
Warrren Green

Ha ha that’s funny…I don’t get out much right now so this happens to me less than it used to. What used to really confuse was living overseas and seeing people I thought I knew, but then realising it was impossible because they were back home in Australia…

Anyway I thought it was having kids that eroded my memory, but it seems you’ve proven it’s age ;).

I get it all the time now, having seen over 700 bands and other performers in a space of five years. Everyone remembers my name, but I am terrible remembering theirs.

I used to provide IT support in a building of over 600 staff, everyone knew me but how can I remember all those faces (except the trouble makers), delivering training is also challenging unless you get the name tags or desk signs out.

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