The announcement of SceneTap, an app that uses facial detection software to count how many men and women of various age ranges are presently in bars and clubs, is creating quite a stir in San Francisco and elsewhere. Perhaps it was unwise to pick privacy-paranoid S.F. as one of their launch markets? The CEO just penned an open letter to the entire city insisting that the software doesn't identify anyone, and it's not creepy at all because it merely detects the gender and possible ages of bargoers so that people can quickly determine where the part-ay is at. (Let's ignore the obvious fact that if you are checking an app to identify which bar has the coolest crowd, you are going about things all wrong.) But we say why stop there? There are far more invasive technologies that bars could employ that would be way more useful for revelers.
1. "Fighting Chance": Utilizing data attached to people's driver's licenses as they're scanned by doormen, this app could tell you how many people at the bar have been arrested for violent crimes. The app then uses a patented algorithm to determine the likelihood of a fight breaking out at the bar, and ranks them. It will cost 99 cents at the app store.
2. "Find Your Sugar Daddy": Similarly employing public data via driver's license scans and a hack into IRS databases, this app tells you how many rich dudes are in a bar at any given time.
3. "Endowment Power": Employing those body scanners that they have at airport security, this app is targeted at straight women and gay men who prefer bars where the men are particularly, ahem, well proportioned.
4. "Asshole Alert": A back-end system at the bar monitors drink orders in real time in order to calculate how many assholes are at the bar. Lots of vodka–Red Bulls and Amstel Light orders? Users can check the app on their phone to see that, so you know to stay away.
5. "Drunken Mess": An ingenious use of smartphones' "Find My Phone" feature. This app keeps a running tally of which bars most frequently house the lost phones of people who were too drunk to keep track of it the night before. The higher a bar ranks, the drunker their crowd is, and the more likely it is you'll find customers who can't keep it together.
6. "High School Friend Finder": Are you lonely? Do you stalk the internet for people you haven't talked to in twenty years? This app lets you know exactly where you can find them. Right now. (Oh right, that last one's called Facebook.)
Venture capitalists interested in making any of the below ideas a reality can reach us here.