Author: Torion Oey

The Future is Now.

Dwight Crosby frowned, narrowing his eyes at the bold text that had appeared on his eyeglasses. Despite his conscious distaste for the clichéd ad, the text enlarged and filled his vision, an automatic process resulting from a preference he unwittingly agreed to in the EULA when big tech rolled out the TechSpecs. He stopped walking down the sidewalk and internally scolded himself while the ad played across his lenses. Convenience was one thing, though there were plenty of drawbacks to having his preferences neurally uploaded to the public Cloud.

The owner of the company who was the innovator that created the TechSpecs appeared and began to silently talk, subtitles appearing at the bottom. Dwight didn’t use earpieces that’d remove the need to read, as he already felt detached enough from the real world. Tiredly, he began to read the corpocratic innovator’s spiel.

Hello, everyone. I am pleased to announce a new project that ensures our survival—and—our prospect to thrive. Thanks to TechSpecs, much of our research has already been collected in the public Cloud. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you—

Dwight tore his glasses off, disgusted. Having his walk to work interrupted was one thing, but learning of yet another way big tech was using his daily life as a means to some end filled him with a silent anger. EULAs, he thought spitefully, then noticed all the way down the sidewalk people were similarly stationary. Their TechSpecs’ darkened lenses signifying they, too, were observing something digital.

He turned in place, all too aware of the lone scuffing noise his shoes made on the concrete. He came to face his dimmed reflection in a plexiglass window, one of hundreds that lined the buildings on each street. Putting a hand over the front of his suit, his reflection doing the same, he breathed in deeply. There’s no reason to get worked up, he thought.

Finally, something moved. He turned. A man wearing a deep blue business suit much like his own was slowly taking off his TechSpecs. The man threw them on the ground and stomped on them repeatedly.

A horrible crash of breaking glass resounded, as if all the upstairs windows along the multileveled plexiglass buildings had shattered.

Terrified, Dwight looked up while crouching and covering his face, though none of the windows were broken. Confused, he looked back down at the man. He lay crumpled and unmoving on the sidewalk. Dwight ran to him. Lenses of others nearby became transparent, reacting to the wearers’ conscious fear at the sound. Dwight knelt and shifted the man onto his back. His eyes were open and staring at nothing.

Frantically, Dwight shoved his TechSpecs back on and urged the network to display medical information while it simultaneously called for emergency medical services. Following the directions on his lenses, he checked for breathing. Then, a pulse. Nothing. He followed the directions for CPR, starting with chest compressions. It was no use. The man was dead.

Standing, he took a step back. A horrible thought occurred to him, and he quickly urged his own TechSpecs to go back to the ad that was playing. The lenses dimmed and the corpocratic innovator reappeared in a blurred unmoving image behind huge text displaying the name of the project that allegedly would ensure the survival of humanity.

LifeLink—a virtual you, virtually you.