The Bolivian photofit effect: A new meme that can help with everything of impossibility
December 7, 2009 1 Comment
I am hoping to start a meme. Unlikely it is, but what the hell. Its called the Bolivian photofit effect. As you may or may not have heard, police in Bolivia aimed to catch a killer by broadcasting the photofit below on the news – and amazingly, they succeeded.
Only the very silly indeed would attribute the finding to this picture alone, it seems obvious to me that the chap would have been caught regardless of this photo’s publication.
The same logic can be applied to much more. For example in local government, certain schemes or pilots use as their samples examples that would work anyway, yet knowing full well that accountability is thin on the ground (let me be clear, not always out of callousness). Say for example a programme to get young adults in to further education, lots of work around how best to do that goes on, and then they test the scheme on a sample to secure funding for it on a wider scale. Let us say that results on this scheme are good, over three-quarters of the sample take on further education, the central government likes what it sees and allows the scheme to be applied on a wider basis. But, we are unable to prove that that scheme was the impetus needed for young people to go back and take further education, or whether they were inclined to do this anyway – unfortunately accountability is small. We can only assume there will be an amount – possibly sizeable – within that sample who wanted to stay on in education and would’ve done regardless of scheme, which means that part of the funding for that scheme is unfortunately unnecessary, but owing to the impossibility of accountability, is a necessary evil.
Such an occurance I will now call the Bolivian photofit effect, I have tried it out at work and so far it got a laugh. Now I shall try the true home of memetics – the blogosphere.