“Remember what happened in Redmond, the day that Windows escaped.”
Andrews had been a teenager at the time, when the uncontrolled pseudo-singularity event in the Pacific Northwest had threatened the WorldNet. Microsoft’s unregulated intelligent agent project had been evolved one generation too far, and had escaped the confines of multiple firewall layers, by fractally encoding itself into the ID tag of a DVD disc. It was only a matter of hours before it had colonised the local net spaces, and was in the process of downloading new routines into the brains of its programmers when the FBI dropped a final solution containment device. The resulting EMP surge had blacked out most of the west coast of North America, nearly causing a war with Canada, and the fallout from Redmond had contaminated the last remaining Oregon rain forests.
There’d been several more events like that, everywhere from Edinburgh to Lesotho. Each was now a radioactive crater. The closest had been across the Bristol Channel in Swansea, where some bearded guru’s optimization code had been just a tad too clever for our own good. Gant had been one of the team that had had to push the button. They’d seen the flash in Yeovil.
Sunday morning in Building 32 and Stephen Rodman was finishing yet another overnighter. Ship day was only a month away, and the new build of the Google-killing search tool was proving problematic. It seemed to have a mind of its own.
(I’d like to write a scene where the emergent AI finds itself in a library full of science fiction. Possibly even in Paul Allen’s new skiffy museum in Seattle…)