Famous False Positives

You should Beware of False Positives in Data Matching. A false positive in the data quality realm is a match of two (or more) identities that actually isn’t the same real world entity.

Throughout history and within art we have seen some false positives too. Here are my three favorites:

The Piltdown Man

In 1912 a British amateur archeologist apparently found a fossil claimed to be the missing link between apes and man: The so called Piltdown Man. Backed up by the British Museum it was a true discovery until 1953 when it was finally revealed as a hoax. It was however disputed during all the years but defended by the British establishment maybe due to envy on the French having a Cro-Magnon man first found there and the Germans having a name giving true discovery in Neandertal.

Eventually the Piltdown Man was exposed as a middle age human upper skull, an orangutan jawbone and chimpanzee teeth.

Barry_Nelson_as_Jimmy_Bond_in_1954
Jimmy Bond in Casino Royale

James and Jimmy Bond

As told in the post My Name is Bond. Jimmy Bond: James Bond is British intelligence and Jimmy Bond is an American agent. It’s always a question if two identities residing in different countries are the same as discussed (about me) in the post Hello Leading MDM Vendor.

Dupond et Dupont

In English they are known as Thomson and Thompson. In the original Belgian/French (and in my childhood Danish comics) piece of art about the adventures of Tintin they are known as Dupond et Dupont. They are two incompetent detectives who look alike and have names with a low edit distance and same phonetic sound. For twin names in a lot of other languages check the Wikipedia article here.

And hey, today I’m going to the creator of these two guy’s home country Belgium to be at the Belgian Data Quality Association congress tomorrow.

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