I can remember large amounts of poetry, but people's names, faces and the information associated with them are a different matter. For the most part, I successfully conceal my handicap by a policy of never using names if I can help it, but once in a while the tactic fails. I still remember, as perhaps my most embarrassing moment, recommending Larry White's work on free banking to someone who looked vaguely familiar—and turned out to be Larry White.
Help, however, is on the way. I first encountered the solution to my problem in Double Star, a very good novel by Robert Heinlein. It will be made possible, in a higher tech version, by Google glass. The solution is the Farley File, named after FDR's campaign manager.
A politician such as Roosevelt meets lots of people over the course of his career. For each of them the meeting is an event to be remembered and retold. It is much less memorable to the politician, who cannot possibly remember the details of ten thousand meetings. He can, however, create the illusion of doing so by maintaining a card file with information on everyone he has ever met: The name of the man's wife, how many children he has, his dog, the joke he told, all the things the politician would have remembered if the meeting had been equally important to him. It is the job of one of the politician's assistants to make sure that, any time anyone comes to see him, he gets thirty seconds to look over the card.
My version will use more advanced technology, courtesy of Google glass or one of its future competitors. When I subvocalize the key word "Farley," the software identifies the person I am looking at, shows me his name (that alone would be worth the price) and, next to it, whatever facts about him I have in my personal database. A second trigger, if invoked, runs a quick search of the web for additional information.
I am told that Google itself has a rule against building face recognition into glassware, so my Farley file software may not appear in the immediate future. But it is the killer app, and someone will build it.