The ceiling of the mosque’s forecourt supposedly resembled Mike’s brown hair. The layering of two Visigothic archways supposedly resembled the area between Mike’s hairline and the edge of his brow. Finally, the related alignment of the Moorish cusped arches with their striped stonework resembled Mike’s eyes and nose just enough that the software thought a 10th-century mosque was the face of a 21st-century human.
Rather than viewing this as a failure, I realized I had found a new insight: Just as people’s faces have features that can be recognized by algorithms, so do buildings. That began my effort to perform facial recognition on buildings – or, more formally, “architectural biometrics.” Buildings, like people, may just have biometric identities too.