Wireless Technologies

Rant: Big brother has entered your pub… and he has analytics

It’s 2026 and Sarah is a rather overweight 28-year-old, not the healthiest soul, who needs her tonsils out. The trouble is every Pina Colada and White Russian she’s had over the last decade has been logged. And it was a lot of them. Complete with burgers and fries. Now a red-warning light is flashing and nobody is sure if she deserves the op…

You can certainly see why someone might want a smart pint glass. After all, it’s an icebreaker which provides discounts on food and drinks – mmm cheap stuff – and allows payment via the app. The benefits would mostly appeal to 18-year-olds but you can see it being popular.

At present, the particular smart pint glass I happen to have seen, limits your drinks. This means it caps promotions at five per person. And if anyone asks for more it directs them towards an Uber. Fair play – it has to cover its own backside and it can’t actually stop anyone from not ordering that taxi and simply buying more drinks with their own cash.

Then there are the upsells and adverts for bars you might want to visit for an evening. Again, fair enough, you might want to advice on where to go and this can tempt you with reviews, offers and more promotions. It basically provides a financial incentive to visit one establishment over another and makes it sound fun.

But this is an app on a smartphone and frankly it can access everything, if it wants to. It knows where you’ve been, what you’ve done and just how much you’ve drunk – well, up to five drinks anyway – over a period of potentially years if you signed up at 18. And this is just the first iteration.

Every app that comes out sees people wail about insurance companies getting hold of the data. But as drinking – well, more than one glass of wine with dinner, at least – gradually becomes as politically sensitive as smoking this one could be the kicker. After all, your health is an expensive business.

This means once the right tools are in place to measure – and judge – your right to medical treatment, a lot of people might have to worry. Could data that proves a person has not stayed within the government guidelines deem them unworthy of a free cataract operation, or make them pay three times as much for a paid one? There is no reason why it couldn’t.


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