Face of a Nation


Finland is a funny place- albeit one where I have consumed quite a lot of expensive alcohol in the past. It would be true to state however that they do things quite differently in the land of the midnight sun.

Take the recent elections for example. The Intopii computer company unveiled software to assist those voters who academic studies have suggested tend to select candidates who look much like themselves. When a potential voter uploads his or her photo, the Web site uses facial-recognition software to search amongst the 800 candidates who most resemble that particular person.

Of course you can also upload somebody else’s picture; and the voters of downtown Joensuu will no doubt be very relieved to find there were no matches for the particular picture of George Galloway which I uploaded with a snigger yesterday. Other experiments I carried out however, (including one in which a photo of Chris Rock produced three Nordic blonde female candidates and a middle-aged white man, ) seem to suggest that facial recognition software has quite a way to go before becoming quite as effective as the company is claiming.

Anyway if you want to have a go here’s the Facial Recognition Website. If you can’t work it out (Basicallly “Browse” and then “Hae Eddokkaat” to upload-and come on now high IQ Harry’s Place denizens , I have several times got through a stay in Helsinki knowing only the words for “Beer,” “Please,” and “thankyou,”) -here’s the explanation in English. There are also some basic Finnish lessons which, if you ever find yourself in Lappeenranta outside of a bar, will allow you to ask directions and then go and explore endless lakes which all look like this:


Meanwhile, if you thought being asked to upload photos in Finnish was hard enough for a Sunday morning, here is the website of one sitting “Green League” representative: Jyrki J. J. Kasvi . You will notice that it is written in Klingon. (With English translation.) We really need more politicians like this (don’t we?)

And if you are interested in the fact that the election was narrowly won by the Centre party then here are all the boring details.