Monday, 19 January 2009

Ilham Anas: Barack Obama's alter ego!

There are six billion people on Earth and there are only a few features that define a human face – nose, mouth, eyes, eyebrows, shape of face, hair etc.

So isn’t it surprising that more people don’t look similar?

And what about YOU? Have you ever wondered that there could be another person walking around out there who looks exactly – or almost exactly – the same as you? And maybe not just one other person – perhaps many?

Well, even if you looked far and wide, you’d probably still never find someone who looks exactly like you (except for identical twins of course and they don’t count!)

The human mind has incredible face recognition abilities. We often forget the name of somebody but it’s rare to forget someone’s face – even if you have only met someone for a few fleeting moments.

As to HOW we read a face that’s another matter altogether and a hot topic in psychology and neural science:

"It's very controversial: How do we see a face?" said Pawan Sinha, professor of vision and computational neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among the fiercely debated topics, he said, "is whether we learn to recognize faces or whether we come prewired with dedicated brainware for recognizing faces. The disagreement is deep - and rather sharp."

"Understanding how the brain works is the greatest mystery facing us in this century," said Garrison W. Cottrell, professor of computer science at the University of California in San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering. "And facial recognition is among the greatest challenges to understanding the brain."

This is fascinating stuff and Barack Obama should take note and immediately make a telephone call to Indonesia’s Ilham Anas and offer him a job as his alter ego.

 Barack Obama and Ilham Anas

Barack Obama in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania January 17, 2009 (left) and Ilham Anas in Jakarta (right). Or is it the other way around?

Because if Obama ever finds the going gets too tough – especially with the global economy going down the tubes and the situation in the Middle East getting nastier - he can always take a break and get Ilham Anas to pace around the White House instead without anyone being the wiser!