A Barcelona Comedy Club Is Charging Audiences Per Laugh Through Facial Recognition Software

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Well this is weird. BBC News reports that a comedy club in Barcelona called Teatreneu is experimenting with a new way to get more customers to attend shows: Charging them per laugh instead of per ticket. The club installed tablets to the back of each seat with facial recognition software that tracks each audience member’s responses during the show and charges 0.30 euros per laugh with a cap of 24 euros total (~$30USD). The experiment has so far driven the comedy club’s overall ticket prices up by six euros and is reportedly getting a tryout run in several other Spanish theaters as well, but it’s hard to believe the “success” of the experiment isn’t just over the curiosity of the whole thing or the challenge of a free comedy show as long as you can keep from laughing. BBC News didn’t get a statement from any comedians who have performed under the new robot-controlled per-laugh ticketing system, but charging responsive audience members while rewarding the insatiable doesn’t exactly seem like the most standup-friendly way to make more people visit your theater. Either way the future is now, and it is terrifying.