A bar in London is using facial recognition software to assess the order in which customers should be served. Developed by British AI firm DataSparQ, the technology identifies those waiting at the bar, registers the order in which they arrived, and estimates their wait time. The technology also suggest when a customer looks under 25. The bar has argued that this reduces wait times, but the technology raises questions about creeping surveillance in our everyday lives.
Silkie Carlo, Director of Big Brother Watch, argues that it “trivialises a dangerous surveillance technology. It’s not solving a problem that desperately needs to be solved at all, there’s no obvious need for it. And yet people just going to have a drink are going to be biometrically analysed, scanned, have their face up on a screen, it’s just really quite intrusive stuff. And around the rest of the world, we’re seeing that facial recognition is being used as quite an oppressive surveillance technology, so what we don’t want to see is it sort of creeping into social life in the UK.”