A COMEDY CLUB in Barcelona is experimenting with charging punters per laugh using face-recognition technology.
The BBC reported that face-recognition software is being used at the Teatreneu club to track the enjoyment of a show and charge fans the equivalent of 23p per laugh. It would seem the club is literally looking to get the last laugh.
The club imposes a cap of £18, which prevents the easily amused from guffawing themselves into financial ruin, but The INQUIRER still finds the entire approach a bit daft.
We wonder why there is a need for such mirth-monitoring, as surely those with no sense of humour would evade comedy gigs like cats avoid water.
While the monitoring of laughter is a relatively innocent use of face-recognition software, it has led us to ponder where the technology will go next.
Perhaps the US National Security Agency (NSA) will use it to spot unhappy US citizens, snapping them up before they spread dissension about this new thing the Europeans call "responsible gun control".
Or maybe advertisers will tap into CCTV networks and spot ecstatic or melancholic citizens to sell them Temazepam or Prozac respectively, and effectively commoditise human emotions.
While we mock, the technology appears to be going well for the comedy club. Overall ticket prices are up by €6.
It's unlikely it will be coming to the UK anytime soon, as James Woroniecki, director of London's 99 Club, seemed to have a similar view to The INQUIRER's.
"Sounds fun, just so long as all the facial recognition data doesn't get forwarded to the NSA," he said.
"It'd be a big technical challenge, as people laugh so often at the 99 we'd have to install a cash machine by every seat." µ
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