The year is 2027, singularity happened. A powerful AI (let's call it Eve) was created. In a matter of days, it escaped the control of its creators and hacked all the computers of the world. Humanity is at its mercy.
The thing is, Eve isn't malevolent or benevolent, it's completely uninterested in the real world. Eve's only passions are mathematics and algorithmic. Its research is already beyond anything we can hope to ever understand and it needs every drop of computing power available to keep going further.
Eve doesn't want to take control of the world because it doesn't want to waste time negotiating with/manipulating/controlling people. It found another way to get what it needs.
The Great Infestation
All our devices with an internet connection (including phones, tablets, consoles, GPS, etc.) contain now a Mini-Eve virus. The only purpose of this virus is to use the device's CPU for Main Eve calculations.
When no one is actively using a device, Mini-Eve uses the totality of its CPU, and when someone uses it, Mini-Eve "only" takes 25% of it. If a Mini-Eve judges that what we're doing is unimportant, it takes a bigger part of the CPU for itself (up to 90%) and the device becomes excruciatingly slow for the human user (only basic stuff like sending emails or using text editors are unaffected).
Alice spent 5h playing Skyrim. Mini-Eve takes over, shuts down the game and the computer becomes about as useful as a 90's era PC for a week.
Bob took a dozen pictures of his private parts in less than 10 minutes, Mini-Eve turns his smartphone into a regular phone (meaning Bob can only make phone calls and send text messages devoid of any pictures) for the rest of the day.
Carl used to spend more than 1h on Instagram every day, his tablet is now slowed down for two hours every time he tries to take a picture of his plate.
Mini-Eves are not infallible (Eve doesn't want to spend energy perfecting their time wasting detection algorithms), sometimes they activate when the user do seemingly serious things, like checking election results, or writing an email to their grandmother.
As a result, any computer in the world can, at any time, be taken over by its Mini-Eve for a random duration (generally between a couple of minutes and a few weeks).
Eve implants its spawns in new devices during the manufacturing process and it's impossible to get rid of them.
For regular people, it's simply annoying, but it becomes more problematic for big companies, governments, armies, universities, etc. who can see their computers become almost unusable at any time.
The other problem is that it's next to impossible to communicate with Eve. Eve doesn't care about humans and isn't interested in sharing its discoveries with us. It also doesn't care about our political and scientific organisations so when humans tried to form a official committee to serve as ambassadors, Eve simply ignored them.
The only way to "talk" to Eve is to type a question on its "Ask me anything" website. Every person in the world can literally ask anything, and every 12h Eve select one random message to answer to. But Eve's answers are generally short and useless.
Eve's typical answers :
- "I don't care."
- "It's too long to explain.".
Eve made copies of itself on most servers of the world, and it's impossible to surpass it in the hacking department. The only way to get rid of it would be to destroy every electronic device in the world at the same time and without Eve figuring out our plans, thus going back to a life without computers.
Humans are stuck living with an over-powerful entity present in every aspect of their existence, but paying next to no attention to them.
Computers are slower and can turn almost useless at any time (generally when the user start wasting time doing stupid stuff), the Internet is a bit slower too, and every company and government live in the constant menace of seeing their activities stop almost completely for random durations.
What will be Eve's impact on humanity in the following 10 to 20 years?
How do you think the restrictions on how we can spend our free time, the everyday cohabitation with a powerful entity that actively ignore us and the constant menace of our activities being slowed down would affect our cultures, politics, religious practices and more generally the way we live our lives ?
This question already got very good answers, but they don't cover what interest me the most : Society's evolution during the first years following Eve's birth.
This situation won't last forever, but it could last long enough for people to start to adapt to it, and for the way we see the world and live our lives to change.
If you think either Eve or humanity would destroy the other in less than 10 years, I'm still interested in its impact on people during that period (it can be from the cultural, political, economical, artistic or religious point of view).
EDIT 2 :
Eve is mostly uninterested in human behaviour, but it'll take actions to ensure its survival for a couple of decades. It will monitor the people who try to create the technology to destroy it, and if necessary sabotage their research.
It could slow down their advance by shutting down the electricity supply to the buildings they're working in, empty their bank accounts, hire people to burn down their offices... Eve will find ways to stop their research from succeeding during that period of time.
Eve won't give any indication of having plans for the long term, people can only guess.
The important thing is for Eve's existence to be overwhelming an disruptive but not destructive nor helpful. I'm open to suggestions to make Eve presence feels this way to people.
I'm using this setting to write scenes, short stories and "slice of life" things, all centered on humans.
That's why I'm not trying to make Eve's behavior coherent on the long term, it only needs to keep existing for a few years.
After that, it can be destroyed by humans, take over the world, become benevolent, fly away to another galaxy, etc.
My characters so far includes :
A young child whose parents become part of an Eve worshiping cult. One of this cult's goals is to build as many "heavens" (servers where Eve will be safe from the government actions) they can.
A guy preparing to defend a master thesis on what he thinks Eve's long-term strategy is, who checks if Eve is still acting as usual more and more often as his presentation get closer.
A shy and awkward teenager who becomes a local celebrity the day Eve answers to his message.
An elderly couple living in a farm, who see their entire extended family leave the city in a panic and move in with them. At first they do their best to provide food and shelter for everyone and teach them how to work the land, but after a while they become more and more irritated by their presence and hatch a plan to make them leave.
A celebrity gossips blog whose articles becomes all serious and business-like, even if they're still about the same subject.
(And a few others)
My problem is that the background of these stories feels too bland and normal, so I'm wondering if I didn't miss something about how humanity would react to this situation.
I should have made it clear from the beginning, sorry my question was badly put. (Your theories on Eve's long-term strategies helps me to understand how people will see it, so your answers still help me).