David Levy stopped at a restaurant for lunch. New York local time was eleven in the morning, but his internal clock thought it was late afternoon. Registration at his sales conference didn't start until two.
The waiter blinked at him through thick-framed glasses. "Hello, David. What can I do for you this fine morning?"
"Do I know you?" David asked.
The young man gave an uneasy shrug. "Most customers like the personal touch."
"I don't." David spoke decisively. He had refused to get a biometric chip implanted for years, until all the insurance companies started requiring it.
"Right, sir. Shall I bring you a menu?"
After he ordered, David checked his mail. His daughter reported that according to the scan, the new baby would be a girl. That was good news, after two boys. He read a warning that someone had developed a hack for his biometric chip—bad news, but hardly surprising. He followed up on it, and decided there was nothing he could do about the problem until he got home.
One of the organizers intercepted David when he walked into the hotel's conference area. "I'm sorry, sir, this lobby is reserved for the Hapixx sales team."
He stared at her familiar face, and tried not to feel hurt. "Midge, you know me—David Levy, from Tel Aviv?"
She blinked. "David Levy? Why does your meta-data say your name is 'Sir'?"
After a moment of thought, he told her about the waiter that morning, and the breach in his chip's security. Still, Midge should have recognized him.
"That would explain it."
He pulled out his phone and typed in the correction. "That should do for now."
"Are you still writing apps as a sideline?"
That fact wasn't part of his meta-data. He grinned. "You know me." Some months, his income from programming almost matched his salary and commissions.
Sunday morning's lecture was on healthy eating habits, and David skipped out. He walked along the street, breathing deeply the crisp spring air. He came to a public park, and sat on a bench to watch the children playing.
A youngish woman eyed him doubtfully. "You aren't from around here, are you?"
"No, I'm just in town for a sales convention."
They fell into easy conversation. David got out his phone to show her snaps of his grandkids. As long as he had it out, he scanned her meta-data. She was Mrs. Connie Black, and her birthday— "Happy birthday, Mrs. Black."
She smiled and blushed, then looked surprised. "How did you know that?"
"It was right there in the top-layer data on your chip."
"Well, sure," she said. "I guess people don't expect older folks, two-eyes, to be able to cope with modern technology."
David frowned. When he was growing up, glasses made a person look older. That was one of the reasons he was so proud of his perfect vision. Also he didn't want to get in the habit of relying on his chip-reader. He had it available on his phone, he didn't need the information constantly in front of his eyes. Two-eyes, huh? He switched to his picture album and offered the phone to the lady.
She barely glanced at the snaps. "Cute kids." She turned to scan the playground. "I don't see my son!" She jumped up. "Ronnie!"
David stood and pocketed his phone. "What does he look like?"
"His name is Ronson, and he's nine years old." She turned around and shouted his name again.
A boy trotted over. "Hi, Mom. What's up?" He looked like a typical grubby nine-year-old, except for the aluminum foil crown on his head.
She glanced at him and kept scanning the park.
"Hey, son," David said, "what have you got on your head?"
"Hi, Mr. Levy," the boy said. "We were playing hide and seek." He took the crown off and rolled it up. "Mom, is it time to go?"
"Time to go?" She noticed him now. "Yes, I guess it is. Where were you?"
David hurried back to his hotel room. He had an idea for a new app, and needed his laptop. He planned it while he walked. He could use a standard face-recognition program, and the snapshot option that most smart-specs offered. When the specs picked up a face without any corresponding meta-data, the program would search its archive to try to fill in the missing identification.
He would advertise with a clip of a mother and her son with his chip hidden, and the slogan, "There are some people you should recognize even without their meta-data."
This would be a real money-maker. Not bad for an old two-eyes.