When the "Tom Cruise in the future" movie Minority Report came out in 2002, everybody got all googly-moogly over the futuristic ad technology that recognized people's faces and tailored ads directly to them, instantly, as they walked through stores. Well slowly but surely that's all becoming a reality! The wonders of living in the future. Retailers are working on all types of technologies to "serve up ads based on the consumer's appearance." Hey, ugly: check it out! Dunkin Donuts is putting ad screens on its checkout and pickup areas telling you to buy things and come back soon, respectively. Some stores are sticking video screens on the shelves, which flash ads at you based on what item you pick up off the shelf. Which seems like it would quickly get annoying. But the creepiest is the effort to read your face:

The company powering the screens for Dunkin', YCD Multimedia, is in the midst of deploying facial-recognition technologies that can classify people into certain demographic groups by identifying their approximate age and their sex. Companies in the securities industries have been experimenting with facial-recognition technologies for some time. The technology often works by capturing an image of a person and using sophisticated algorithms to analyze features like the size and shape of the nose, eyes, cheekbones and jaw line — against databases of face information.

Hopefully you think this was cool in a good way: [Excellent story by Emily Steel in the WSJ]