May 21, 2012

"On Friday, a company called SceneTap flipped the on switch enabling cameras installed in around 20 bars to monitor how full the venues are..."

"... the mix of men and women, their ages — and to make all this information available live via an iPhone or Android app. Privacy advocates are unimpressed, though, as the only hint that people are being monitored is via tiny stickers on the windows."

Sorry, I think this is a great idea. I checked out the website, and it's not just 20 bars in San Francisco. They've got lots of cities, including Madison, with 6 bars. I think it's great to be able to see which places are crowded, what the sex balance is, and what's the average age of the men and, separately, the women. This is very helpful information for customers and for businesses. I approve!

As for privacy, people are out in public, and they know they are being looked at. Even though cameras are being used to capture faces and the faces are analyzed for sex and age, no one's picture (or name) goes up on the website. It's simply technology, cleverly applied for a useful purpose.

39 comments:

David said...

It will get really useful when it can tell who is horny and who is not. Think infrared.

traditionalguy said...

The Pope needs to install these at Catholic Churches and keep up with the sheep better.

Scott M said...

This is all well and good until Pre-Crime starts looking for you.

chickelit said...

Cameras in classrooms would be nice too. I think it would be great idea to see which public university classes are crowded, what the sex balance is, and what's the average age of the men and, separately, the women. This is very helpful information for students and for potential students. I approve!

Wally Kalbacken said...

This will take me back to the place where I spent the better half (I think) of the late 70's - the KK (Kollege Klub). Wow - what the Internet hath wrought!

David said...

It's a cool concept. And this is just the beginning. To come:

hotness meters
drunkenness evaluator
lame dancing alerts
geek warnings
throbbing icons
luck-o-meter
suburbanite warning
jail bait controls
drunk and horny politician identification
boredom test
cleavage controls
package evaluation
political content warning
and much, much more . . . .

traditionalguy said...

The Red tailed Hawk cams will be available soon. But then the Police may install dummy hawks to keep the Cams in use for "surveillance."

Mary Beth said...

How cool is that? I wish I had thought of it.

David said...

Faculty lounge cam with snooze alert!

Jim said...

Solves the whole El Farol Bar Problem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Farol_Bar_problem

MadisonMan said...

I don't think this will go into bars I might patronize. Only bar-owners that want Bright Young Things will use it.

ndspinelli said...

When cross examined by plaintiff's attorneys when I had video showing their allegedly disabled client to be a lying sack o' shit, the privacy question always came up. I only videotaped subjects in public. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy when you're in public, thusly the word, "public." I would give exmaples of webcams being ubiquitous. Jurors got that. This would be just another example. The genie exited the bottle a long time ago.

AJ Lynch said...

Meade just tweeted, from his barstool, that he disagrees with you. Heh.

Matthew Sablan said...

You're in public. The people there are already observing you. If you don't like it, hide. That's what I do.

John Burgess said...

Wow! Super hot technology!!

You know what other technology is super hot? Face recognition!

Marry the two and we'll be able to tell who you're out with, where, for how long, what you're drinking, who you're dancing with (and how close), as well as who you leave with.

But, if I recall correctly, that's exactly the information I did not want publicized when I was in the game.

The Elder said...

Helicopter parents, after all those years of making sure that their little wonder kids felt good about themselves on the soccer or baseball fields, can now watch them score in the bars! "No, Junior, not THAT one. The brunette!!!"

Michael Haz said...

Thank heavens they didn't succumb to cameras in Paul's Club. that place still feels like home whenever I stop in.

Maybe it's the tree.

AJ Lynch said...

The Elder:

A friend of mine said little league was something you played with your peers but now it is something you play while you are peered at by your parents.

traditionalguy said...

New App to get rich with: The TSA whole body/booty scanners data is merged with the Bar's facial recognition feature and alerts go out whenever men with big packages stroll in.

But shrinkage alerts would need to be added on the colder days to keep women's interest up.

Pogo said...

Gee, single women being stalked by bad guys will have nothing at all to worry about, when he can quickly scan a few local bars and find one or two with a woman alone.

I call bullshit on the idea that being in "public" means you consent to being on video 24/7. Is the only privacy left at your home? But your house is out there, in public. And thermal imaging can tell if it's occupied.

Why not in the toilets? Woddyagot to hide?

roesch/voltaire said...

I am sure Meade approves of you checking out the bar scene in Madison, of course this does save money in hiring detectives to track stray spouses when all you have to do is check out the dark singles bar to see who lurks there.

Sorun said...

"Don't let any old ladies in. They really screw up our female age average."

Calypso Facto said...
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Calypso Facto said...

"Don't let any old ladies in. They really screw up our female age average."

Haha. Imagine walking in to find that the two 25 y/o's you expected to find are really a grandma and granddaughter.

rastajenk said...

I'm with Pogo. This is more akin to red-light cameras than it is to anything useful.

edutcher said...

A marketer's dream come true.

traditionalguy said...

The Pope needs to install these at Catholic Churches and keep up with the sheep better.

for some people, the last 400 years or so never happened.

Beldar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lemondog said...

As people age surprise and spontaneity loses appeal and a more structured environment seems preferred.

If this sets the standard for community interaction, future generations expectations could become exacting and less flexible

Kind of reminds of the tv series 'Person of Interest'

"You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people, people like you. Crimes the government considered irrelevant. They wouldn't act, so I decided I would. But I needed a partner, someone with the skills to intervene. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You'll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number's up...we'll find you."

Pogo said...

What a great app for an abuser, now able to track every move of his wife, and watch who she talks to in some eatery.

And your workplace could scan for certain people who are in gay bars or bars with smoking or count how many drinks you had. Great app!

Not to mention what cops could do with this info.

ndspinelli said...

Michael Haz, Don't pee on the tree in Paul's Club.

ken in sc said...

I put a web-cam in my classroom the last year I taught 6th grade. I thought it would reduce misbehavior while I was out of the room to talk to administrators or other teachers. It did not work. Students came up and made funny faces and dances in front of the camera while I was out of the room. This was not an official offense, so I could not punish them.

ndspinelli said...

ken in sc, You need to be creative w/ that video. Think of a way to throw it right back @ them in a light hearted fashion. You can't expect kids to be angels. I never wanted my kids to be angels. But, I did expect integrity and always could abide creativity in minor infractions.

Mr. Forward said...

Only if the cameras are required to wear beer googles.

Mr. Forward said...

That would be goggles. Google would only lead to more googling.

chickelit said...

I think people will reject or embrace this because the omniscient camera plays the same role as the "Eye of Providence" or the “Eckleburg eyes” on the billboard in The Great Gatsby (the latter more accurately symbolized impaired vision). Still, nobody likes being watched over, especially if they are sinning and being judged by strangers. Such judgement is reserved for higher beings.

chickelit said...

I mean, imagine if Megan had a bar cam in last night's "Mad Men"?

Luther said...
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Luther said...

Great! A meat locker with clear windows. You don't even have to enter to see you've been frozen out.

DEEBEE said...

They could use the soon to become obsolete TSA body scanners and make their information even more accurate. Presumably you will stand up in an encore ovation. After all the patrons are in public and the information is not archived.