WE HEAR A LOT about how artificial intelligence (AI) can make the world a better place by neutralising our human biases. Well, theoretically anyway.
But there is one burning injustice that AI can help with, and appropriately enough it comes to us on International Beer Day.
DataSparQ has made an "AI Bar", that uses facial recognition software to identify the order people arrive at, and tells the bar staff who to serve first. No more 25-minute waits, only to be pipped to the post by that jerk who pushed in and ordered six hard-to-make cocktails.
If you turn around, nip to the toilet, or return to your table to check the order, the AI will remember your place in the queue for a short time. Genius.
That would be reason enough for us to abandon our AI unease on its own, but the AI Bar has other tricks up its sleeve, too. Everyone queuing can see a live feed of the bar, with each face given a queue number, like taking a token from a deli counter. Each number has an estimate as to how long you'll be waiting, too.
And because it's facial recognition software, it can have a stab at guessing people's age, meaning it can dob in the babyfaced of the world to the bartender for ID checks. Helpfully, an ID check is flagged up to people in the queue, giving them time to prepare ID - or do a runner if they really are underage. If they've already been checked and approved, the AI remembers.
Other possible features down the line: the ability to tie faces to a bar tab, and a ‘reorder' function for repeat rounds.
The technology has been trialled at the 5cc Harrild & Sons bar right here in London where it seems to have been a hit. If other bars want to get in on the act, a subscription will cost landlords £199 per month, and it obviously requires them to install a webcam and a display screen.
Throw in a feature that highlights people about to paint the floor with Snakebite-tinged vomit, and we can't imagine any busy pub being able to say no to our new AI booze overlords. µ
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