On Thursday, London-based AI firm DataSparQ announced plans to launch AI Bar, a software package that uses facial recognition technology to ensure that pub patrons get served in the order they approach the bar.
The idea is that you’ll no longer have to worry about anyone cutting the line while you wait to buy the next round — but privacy experts warn that a quicker pint isn’t worth the trade-off.
The AI Bar system comprises three parts: a camera, a display screen, and DataSparQ’s software.
The screen displays a live feed from the camera, which is positioned to record all the patrons waiting for a drink. The DataSparQ system notes the order in which patrons approach the bar, placing a circle with a number around their face on the screen.
The facial recognition tech ensures each person keeps their place in line even if they momentarily leave the camera’s view.
If you’re ever seen a jerk elbow their way to the front of the crowd at a bar and immediately get served, you might think AI Bar sounds like a great idea.
But to Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, a U.K. nonprofit focused on protecting civil liberties, the system isn’t worth submitting to face scans — even if customer data is deleted within 24 hours, as DataSparQ noted in a press release.
“It is a sad state of affairs when we can’t even enjoy a pint without being under AI monitoring,” Carlo told The Telegraph. “You might expect AI queue control… in China, but not in Britain.”
READ MORE: London bar uses facial recognition to help staff know who to serve first [The Telegraph]
More on facial recognition: Privacy Expert: Surveillance Cams Will Soon Be Impossible to Spot