This is slightly terrifying.
According to a paper recently published by two computer scientists, two algorithms used in conjunction with thermal imaging can be used by cops to find inebriated people in public places.
I'm not totally sure what all this means either, but the short of it is that cops will soon be able to scan a crowd, find the guy, say, yelling at a chair, and determine by looking through a camera whether he's drunk or just old. If drunk and disorderly? Then they can write him up with public intoxication. From Wired:
Georgia Koukiou and Vassilis Anastassopoulos of the University of Patras in Greece detail two different algorithms they are working on that focus on data gathered from a subject’s face — alcohol causes blood-vessel dilation at the skin’s surface, so by using this principle as a starting point the two began to compare data gathered from thermal-imaging scans. One algorithm compares a database of these facial scans of drunk and sober individuals against pixel values from different sites on a subject’s face
The paper argues that this is helpful for officials because it removes the assumptions that go into cops detaining non-drunk people who are just showing signs of drunk behavior. Anyone who has had a few drinks outside of the safety of their own bathroom, though (just me?), can see that there are massive invasion of privacy issues involved. Let's hope this doesn't become common practice.