Future Tense, one of the revolving features on this page, presents stories and
essays from the intersection of computational science and technological speculation,
their boundaries limited only by our ability to imagine what could be.
they Just Click
When glasses track glances, will eyes
still meet across a crowded room?
“PeoPLe don’T reAd end-user license
agreements,” said Mallory, unhappily.
“They just click.”
“I know.” I fired up the demo for its
first walk-through. “Shrink-wrap’s wa-
The screen lit up with the view from
Subject A’s glasses: a typical English
Saturday suburban High Street.
“See?,” I said. “Anonymized. Ethical.”
I knew Subject A was male. I didn’t
know his name, age, location, or appearance. The system did.
On the screen the gaze-tracker
flicked about like a jittery cursor. Every
millisecond moment when something
snagged the gaze was logged, too fast
to read except when he deliberately
looked. Right now: running shoes in a
The view swung as he turned and
walked on. He passed a department-store display of the latest summer
dresses without a glance. The next
shop was stationery. Even in real time,
you could see his gaze linger on a nifty
“So far, so shopping-glass,” said
Mallory, sounding skeptical rather
“Roll back,” I told the system. “Now
forward, slow.” [Con TinUed on P. 127]