Letters & Opinion

Roll Call

Image of Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant
By Dr. Lyndell St. Ville- ICT Consultant

YOU may have heard the joke about the small child attending his first day at school, who did not recognise his own name ‘Dexter’ when it was called, because at home, he was always called ‘Sonson’. A quaint practice of ours, no doubt, and especially relevant during the September back-to-school period. If you reflect on the cause of the kindergarten cringe worthy moment, you may detect parallels between ordinary life, and perhaps everyday computing!

Superficially, the need to ensure the validity of persons within a room for an exam, jury selection, or other specific purpose, can be resolved in many ways. A simple non-technology approach could involve signing a register or relying on roll call. A technology-heavy solution might involve scanning an identity badge at the entrance. A more sophisticated approach might detect the assigned owner of a phone or laptop. If you were thinking of an approach based on facial recognition, then congratulations! You should carry your tech savvy credentials with pride.

At a deeper level, we should recognise the problem of waiting to detect something which is not presented in the manner expected, but is differently dressed and therefore disguised as something else. Perhaps you are waiting for an opportunity that you believe must match some specific criteria? Couldn’t the scholarship for ‘subject B’, take you to the same destination that ‘subject A’ might have taken you?

More generally, we should be aware of false choices being presented to us. It is not easy, but we should work hard to detect similar items whether sugar-coated or not. Or for a greater challenge, consider how you might overcome the problem of groups of individuals working together to prevent you detecting the presence or absence of each other.

Editor’s note: To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.

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