My friend Lessley Anderson has a piece on The Verge about testing out SceneTap, an "app that lets you see what bars are full, and what percentage of the patrons are female." She invited along a professional pick-up artist coach named Mike Smooth.
SceneTap said The Wreck Room was 35% women, average age 23, and 65% men, average age 32. Pretty accurate, though Smooth guessed the female percentage to be a notch higher.
According to SceneTap, the app makes these determinations via a camera positioned at the bar's front door. Facial recognition algorithms predict age and gender based on things like space between eyes, and then, says the company, the footage is instantly erased.
Smooth wasn't too concerned about privacy: "When you're in a public place, there are cameras everywhere," he said. He was more skeptical that the algorithms could know whether a chick was a chick. "This is, after all, San Francisco," he said. If they did, it would be a boon for ABCs bootcamps, which turn students loose in bars to practice approaching and charming groups, or "sets," of females. Instructors need to know where there is a high density of women, said Smooth, "because students crash and burn for a few sets before they get it."
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.