Doppelgängers are double trouble

Doppelgängers are double trouble

I’ve heard it said that we all have a double somewhere in the world. Spooky, huh? A twin. A look-a-like. A doppelgänger (from the German language, literally meaning double walker). Someone who could pass as you.

On the one hand, it’s a bit of an unnerving thought. Is the world really ready for two of me… or you… or Rodney Hide? What if your mum believed they actually were you.

Then again, it might be fun. Come to think of it, a lot of fun. Just imagine the ways you could confuse others, play pranks on friends and generally cause all sorts of mayhem. It could be quite entertaining. Of course, some people even make a living out of looking like others.

However, the trouble with looking like somebody else is… well, you look like someone else. And that’s not just a downer on our feelings of self and individuality, and our own unique place in the cosmos. At the danger of repeating myself, they look like you.

Which is a little creepy, at best (have you ever looked up really close in the mirror and been totally freaked out… uh, what, you haven’t, that must be just me). Anyhow, worst case scenario: someone pretends be you for some unscrupulous purpose. And I’m not talking about this interloper sleeping with your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other (surely they’d know!?), there are serious security implications, not least where some new technology is taking us.

I’m talking ‘facial recognition’. I’m sure there are safeguards and all that but I wonder…

What got me started down this track was a competition at an event I went to recently. NEC had its NeoFace software on show, with those attending invited to have their face ‘compared’ to a database of celebrities. The idea was to see whose famous face most matched your own mug. It was a bit of a hoot. Some people seemed quite pleased with their ‘twins’ – after all who wouldn’t want to look like George Clooney or Eva Longoria. Others, not so. (I’ll leave this to your imagination… but suffice it to say there were a few New Zealand politicians on the database!)

Not wanting to miss out, I gave it a whirl. They took my photo and the software then extracted ‘facial features’, compared them to those of the celebs, and returned a score based on the comparisons. This was converted to a percentage of how much you look like a particular celebrity.

I couldn’t wait. I looked most like… Brad Pitt? Jude Law? Johnny Depp? Robert Redford (in his younger years)?

Nope, my celebrity twin was… Heidi Klum!

Ha, ha, very funny (and a little bit exciting in a sexy yet shameful sort of way). Now try the male database. I’m a dead ringer for… just a minute… Clarke Dermody. Clarke D-e-r-m-o-d-y… they had to say it slowly so I could take it in. Can you imagine! Hardly Hollywood A list, you might say. Oh well, I guess I can live with sharing the same tough, rugged complexion as a former All Black prop. You never know, it might help my touch game.

[Editor’s note: While I have not had it backed up by any whiz-bang technology, I have been told I bear a striking resemblance to Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd. It hasn’t opened any doors for me yet, though…]

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