Facial recognition in bars has got me drinking at home...

Just saw this new tech implementation to help bar queues work more smoothly: https://mashable.com/video/bar-facial-recognition-queue-jumpers/

I’m tempted to love it at first because my shy ass and tiny voice hates bar culture where the loudest voice gets the first beer. But this privacy nightmare would not make me feel any better! Also, how many bartenders would be willing to deal with the inevitable technical breakdowns of this system? And what about when patrons catch on that only the white faces are getting recognized?

Thanks, I hate it.


Why is everything so bad?! Fortunately, I don’t go to bars anymore, but we have to do something about this, this is bad practice. Especially like you said, because PoC are absolutely going to be excluded.


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That’s what I hate most about these technologies. At first glace this seems like it could be a great idea. Then, 30 seconds later, you start thinking of all the ways this could go badly. And particularly with the biases baked into these systems around recognizing PoC faces, I wonder how long it will be before there are lawsuits. Although I’d be nervous about those because the result might be that companies “fix” the facial recognition tech and then they become even more pervasive.


Now they’re going to take queuing up from us? It’s like a dystopian OTB but for drinks.

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It certainly is bad for privacy, especially if this type of technology starts sharing data across servers, and as already mentioned facial recognition technology does not represent PoC well, fairly, accurately: it’s racist and offensive.

As I think about this from a retail service stand point, I wonder if this is even entirely helpful: just numbering people based on who approaches the bar may not even allow for best service. Sometimes groups show up en masse and it might make sense for one bar tender/employee to work with that group as singles and/or smaller groups/outliers approach the bar can be assisted by a (potentially) second bar tender/employee – this helps move the line and provide better service to all people. If you rely solely on the order in which people show up, sometimes that might actually cost business and/or satisfaction.

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